Coping with Prostate Cancer

Once you receive a diagnosis of prostate cancer or have treatment for this disease, you may experience a range of unsettling feelings including disbelief, fear, anger, anxiety, emptiness and depression. You may not be able to get rid of these distressing feelings. But, you can find positive ways to deal with them, so they don’t dominate your life. The following strategies can help you cope with some of the challenges of prostate cancer.

Be prepared

Ask your doctor questions and read about prostate cancer and its potential side effects. The fewer the surprises, the more quickly you’ll adapt.

Maintain as normal a routine as you can

Don’t let the cancer or side effects from treatment dominate your life. Try to follow the routine and lifestyle you had before learning of your cancer. Go back to work, take a trip, and join your children or grandchildren on an outing. You need activities that give you a sense of purpose, fulfilment and meaning. But, also realise that you may have some limitations initially. Start slowly, and gradually build your level of endurance.

Get plenty of exercise

Exercise helps fight depression and is a good way to relieve tension and anger.

Open up to a friend, a family member or a counsellor

Cancer is too heavy a load to carry alone. Sometimes it helps to talk with someone about your feelings and fears. The better you feel emotionally, the better you’ll be able to cope physically with your illness. You may find joining a support group helpful, because this can help provide you with a sense of belonging, an opportunity to talk with people who understand your situation and valuable advice. Call our CancerLink hotline on 3667 3000 to ask about patient support.

Don’t avoid sexual contact

Your natural reaction to impotence may be to avoid all sexual contact. Don’t fall for this feeling. Touching, holding, hugging and caressing can become far more important to you and your partner. In fact, the closeness you develop in these acts can produce greater sexual intimacy than you had before. There are many ways to express your sexuality.

Look for the positive

Cancer doesn’t have to be a wholly negative experience. Good can come out of it, too. Facing cancer may lead you to grow emotionally and spiritually, identify what really matters to you, settle long-standing disputes and spend more time with people who are important to you.