The journey a man diagnosed with prostate cancer has to go through is usually long and painful. Starting from the first feelings of fear and anger a man has when receiving the prostate cancer diagnosis, to the responsibility of deciding upon the best treatment to follow, the burden a prostate cancer patient has to bear may be overwhelming.
The quality of life men have after prostate cancer varies depending on the treatment they choose, their physical condition before treatment and the experience of their surgeons. Most men worry that after the cancer is gone, they will be left with urinary incontinence and/or erectile dysfunction. However, if these two side effects can be controlled with treatments and prevention methods, the fear of cancer recurrence is something you can’t control, but that you can learn to live with. It is very important to know what your particular risk of recurrence is and what are some practical ways that could lessen or influence this risk.
After you have completed the treatment for prostate cancer, your doctor will discuss a care plan with you.
This plan may include frequent follow-ups in the first weeks and months after treatment. The purpose of these follow-ups is to allow the doctor to closely monitor your progress and track any changes. A check-up may include a PSA test and/or a DRE exam twice a year for the first five years. After that, follow-ups may be less frequent.
Make sure to attend these appointments as they may be vital, given that cancer may reoccur. Also, they are great opportunities to talk to your doctor about any changes in your symptoms that may affect your quality of life. What is more, discuss openly with your doctor about your personal risk of having recurrent prostate cancer or another type of cancer.
It is normal to think about the fact that cancer may come back. There are some factors that may determine what is the likelihood to have cancer recurrence.
The side effects men usually experience depend on the type of prostate cancer treatment they have undergone. For example, the side effects of radiation can differ from those caused by surgery. Also, it is important to know that compared to open prostate surgery and laparoscopic surgery, robotic surgery is the least invasive and causes temporary side effects. But what side-effects can you expect after prostate cancer treatment?
There are a few manageable factors that can influence the way our bodies fight against the disease and contribute to the success of the treatment. Also, if you are at risk of developing recurrent prostate cancer, here is a list of things you CAN do to reduce the likelihood of your cancer returning.
Feelings of anger, depression, sadness or grief are normal when dealing with cancer. If you have already finished your treatment and have entered remission, you would probably want to share your experience and benefit from others’ stories. The help provided by family and friends is very valuable, but you would probably need emotional support and advice from those who are or were in your shoes, struggling with the same feelings. Until now, you have benefited from the support offered by your cancer care team, but now your appointments become rarer and you probably feel anxious.
It is important to face these feelings and learn to deal with them. Just give yourself enough time to get accustomed to your life after treatment and do not expect your life to suddenly come back to normal.
Of course, it is not always possible to have a positive attitude, but it is worth the effort. Anyway, note that there are numerous myths regarding a positive attitude that can even fight and defeat cancer, which was never proved to be real. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for your negative feelings, it is normal to feel sad sometimes.
Many cancer support groups were formed with the purpose of encouraging and providing comfort to those affected by cancer. Researchers found out that people who take part in support groups and attend the meetings, have an improved quality of life and can sleep and eat better. There are online communities and support services and programs. Find out here what support service is available in your area.