If you’ve been told you have prostate cancer, you could be feeling fear, anxiety and even anger. But you are not alone. Prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in men. One in five men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer sometime in their life. Don’t let your concerns overwhelm you; there are things you can do.
Educate Yourself about Prostate Cancer
The prostate is a small, walnut-shaped gland that produces semen and transports sperm. Cancer of the prostate usually grows very slowly and may require no treatment or just minimal treatment. Other forms of prostate cancer can be aggressive and spread quickly, so it is important to get a proper diagnosis and treatment if needed. The earlier prostate cancer is detected, the better your chances of getting proper treatment. Learn everything you can about prostate cancer. Ask your doctor for patient education resources.
Learn about Prostate Cancer Treatment Options
Prostate cancer can be treated in a number of ways: surgery, radiation, hormone therapy, chemotherapy or a combination of treatments. The most common form of treatment, external beam radiation, uses high-powered X-rays to kill cancer cells. Another popular form of treatment is to implant radioactive seeds into the prostate. These deliver a high dose of radiation to the cancer over a long period of time. Hormone therapy may be used to stop your body from producing testosterone, which can increase the growth of cancer cells. If hormone therapy doesn’t work, your doctor may recommend chemotherapy, where chemicals are used to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be quite effective but it isn’t a cure. In more serious cases of prostate cancer, a radical prostatectomy may be recommended to remove the prostate gland. Side effects can include erectile dysfunction or urinary incontinence.
Work with Your Doctor to Determine the Best Treatment for You
You may not be given a choice about what treatment is best for you. Your doctor should help you understand what your options are and why a certain treatment is recommended for you. Treatment depends upon the stage of the cancer, the type of cancer and if any other organs are affected. Your health and age will also be a determinant in the treatment that is recommended. Your doctor will help you understand your options and will recommend options for treatment. If your cancer doesn’t respond to traditional therapies, your doctor should discuss alternative therapies with you.
Work at Being Mentally and Physically Healthy
Even though you have prostate cancer, there are things you can do every day to maintain a good level of physical and mental health. Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Limit fats and eat more vegetables, fruits and whole fibers. Get regular exercise to improve your heart and vascular system and to maintain a healthy weight. Keep up your daily routines; go back to work; visit friends and family; participate in outside activities as your doctor allows. Find a friend or counselor to talk to. Cancer can be anxiety-producing, and many times, talking with someone you trust will make you feel better. Continue your sex life as before. If you have problems with erectile dysfunction, ask your doctor to help you find solutions. Simply cuddling, holding and caressing can be extremely satisfying for you and your partner. Above all, try to stay positive. The experience of dealing with cancer may reveal a stronger sense of spirituality and emotional strength that you never knew you had.