Being diagnosed with prostate cancer can be overwhelming and leave you wondering what to do next. Here are a few actions you can take to ensure you are prepared for what’s ahead.
Ask Questions About Your Cancer
Learning more about the cancer you have can help you understand the condition and develop a plan for managing it. Since prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, there is an abundance of information out there. It may be difficult to digest all of that information, but asking key questions will help you understand the main points and make better choices.
Some questions to ask include:
- What type of prostate cancer do I have?
- How aggressive is my cancer?
- What tests do I need performed?
- What are some treatment options for me?
- What can I expect in the weeks and months ahead?
Choose the Right Doctors
Take the time to find a healthcare team that you can trust and build a relationship with. Your team should consist of a general practitioner, urologist, oncologist, and numerous specialists. You’ll be spending a lot of time with your caretakers so it’s important to find ones you’ll be comfortable with.
Consider Your Treatment Options
It’s important to discuss treatment options with your doctor that best fit your prognosis. Since prostate cancer grows slowly, treatment is not always necessary and can be monitored closely for signs of growth.
Treatment options can vary based on:
- Cancer stage
- Age and expected life span
- The likelihood the treatment will provide a cure
- The need to treat the cancer right away
- Possible side effects
Treatment options may include:
- Active surveillance
- Hormone therapy
- Vaccine treatment
Get Emotional Support
Depending on the type of treatment, side effects can include erectile dysfunction, decreased libido, urinary incontinence, and hot flashes. These side effects can cause a feeling of emasculation which can bring about anxiety and depression. Friends, family, support groups, and counselors can make a big difference in remaining positive. Do not feel afraid to reach out and ask for help.
What Can I Expect After My Treatment?
When your treatment is complete and the cancer has subsided, you may still worry about whether or not the cancer will return. Frequent follow-up visits with your doctor should be made to monitor the results and help put you at ease. Also take note of any long-term side effects and monitor them closely.
1. Holland K. What happens next: life after prostate cancer treatment. Healthline. July 12, 2016. Accessed March 7, 2019.
2. Dealing with my diagnosis. Prostate Cancer UK. Updated July 2016. Accessed March 7, 2019.