Coping with a prostate cancer diagnosis

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Health Assured team

02 November 2022

Over 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.

Receiving this diagnosis can be a confusing time— it may bring up feelings of anger, frustration, confusion, sadness, and uncertainty, or you might simply feel numb and unsure of what to do next. This state can feel like a daze, unconnected to the things and the people around you. 

Being diagnosed with cancer can feel like your world has turned upside down, especially when you’re trying to take in information about your diagnosis and next steps. 

Remember that you are not alone. Many men have or are going through the same experience—and these feelings are completely normal. It’s also normal for your feelings to change over time.

Below we’ve put together some tips to help you navigate this period.

 

Talk about how you feel

We can’t emphasise this enough. Whether it's your family, friends, someone in your circle you trust, your doctor or nurse, your employee assistance programme, or a helpline like Samaritans, talking—when you’re ready to—is one of the best ways to process the emotions you’re feeling.  

You might not feel like talking every day—and this is okay too. If you feel like venting your emotions on one of these days, try writing down your thoughts and feelings. Expressing yourself in this way can be a cathartic experience. 

 

Understanding your diagnosis 

It’s important to fully get to grips with your diagnosis when you feel ready to. Take your time, but try to do some research, look up treatments and talk with your doctor or nurse so you can make the right decision for yourself in the future. The treatment types will vary, depending on the kind of prostate cancer you’ve been diagnosed with. It can feel daunting to read up about prostate cancer in this way. But it will help you understand the next steps to take. Prostate cancer UK has a wealth of information and guidance, with a one-to-one support service available. 

 

Look after your health and wellbeing 

Taking care of your health and wellbeing is important when you have prostate cancer for numerous reasons. Engaging in physical activity boosts your mood, relieves stress, improves your sleep, and helps to manage side effects of prostate cancer treatment like fatigue.

Eating a balanced diet will help you maintain a healthy weight, and this can help you recover if you’ve had prostate cancer surgery. Healthy diet changes can also help you manage and reduce the side effects of treatment. 

Some research has also indicated that stopping smoking can help with the side effects of treatment and reduce the further spread of prostate cancer. 

 

Coping with fatigue 

Around three in four men with prostate cancer will have fatigue at some point. How long your fatigue lasts will depend on what’s causing it. Some men might need lifelong treatment, of which fatigue can be a side effect. For others, fatigue may come in waves as a result of prostate cancer itself or a decline in mental health stemming from the diagnosis. Fatigue can be disheartening. But there are ways you can manage it:

  • Prioritise rest and sleep
  • Ask for help when you need it
  • Take it easy, and don’t be hard on yourself
  • Keep a fatigue diary and plan activities when you have the most energy 
  • Keep active where you can
  • Talk to your doctor or nurse 
  • Stick to a sleep routine 

 

Support from Health Assured

If you have an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) with Health Assured, remember that we are here to support you. Our counsellors are on hand 24 hours a day via the helpline to provide a listening ear in times of need. We also have nurses on hand who will be able to talk through your diagnosis and help you understand it in more detail. 

 

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