Coping with prostate cancer
Being diagnosed with prostate cancer can be a confusing, stressful and emotional time.
As well as a man's future health, there may be money and other worries.
These problems are best shared and discussed with family, friends and the cancer care team.
- Do not hesitate to ask your doctor, nurse or other healthcare provider to repeat any instructions or medical terms you don't understand. Your medical team should always be willing to answer your questions and address your concerns
- Make use of resources and support services offered by your hospital and in the community. Learning more about your disease will help you to feel more at ease with your treatment
- Ask your family and friends to help you sort through the information you receive
- Talk with other patients and families about prostate cancer and its treatment
There are many sources of support available for patients and their families. These include:
- Social workers. They can help to alleviate any concerns you and your family may have about your practical, financial or personal situation. Social workers can also provide education, counselling on lifestyle changes and referrals to community or national agencies and support groups
- Individual counselling. Sometimes people have problems that are better addressed in a one-to-one setting. With individual counselling, you may be better able to express sensitive or private feelings you have about your illness and its impact on your life
- Mental healthcare providers are also available to draw up a treatment plan that meets your specific needs. Strategies can be designed to help you regain a sense of control over your life and improve your quality of life. At times, if you are experiencing depression, drugs other than those to treat the physical illness may be prescribed.
- Support groups. Support groups are a very useful sharing experience. They provide an environment in which you can learn new ways of dealing with your illness. Sometimes other people who have been through similar experiences can explain things in a different way from your healthcare providers. You may also want to share approaches to the illness you have discovered with others. You will gain strength in knowing that you are not facing hardships alone. However remember that others may share information or experiences that do not apply to you. Never replace your doctor's advice with that of another patient.
- Financial advisers. A social worker at your hospital should be able to help you find sources of financial advice. Some cancer support organisations, hospitals and self-help groups also have advisers who can tell you if you are eligible for any benefits or grants. A financial adviser can answer questions you may have about financial issues related to your medical care
Information is available about advance decisions/directives (so-called “living wills”) and lasting power of attorney for your healthcare decisions.