Prostate cancer has an emotional impact on every man living with
it - and on partners, family members and friends too. Everyone
finds their own ways to deal with things, but there's
support that can help.
If you are feeling very down or worried and are finding it hard
to deal with things, speak to your GP or specialist team. There are
treatments and support available. If you need to speak to someone
immediately you could ring the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90.
The old cliché is true - there is no right or wrong way to feel.
But it's not unusual to feel shocked, frightened or angry. Some men
find it hard to believe they've got cancer - especially if they
feel well. And on top of the diagnosis you'll be asked to
think about what treatment to have. This would be a stressful time
for most people.
Change and loss
Living with prostate cancer may have changed the way you think
about yourself, your life and your plans. These changes can be
frustrating and disappointing. Partners and family members might
also find that their plans change. You might feel differently
towards your body. Some men say they feel less masculine, or as if
part of who they are has been lost or changed.
The side effects of treatments can also have an emotional
impact. Hormone therapy lowers testosterone levels, and this can
contribute to a low mood. But dealing with the physical side
effects of any treatment might make you feel down or
Is nothing certain?
It might seem as if nothing's certain with prostate cancer - and
this in itself can be hard to deal with. Every treatment has its
pros and cons, and if you're having the cancer monitored instead of
treated, you might be worried what the next test or the next
appointment will reveal. Some men feel anxious or isolated after
treatment has finished, and find it hard to move on and think about
Before, during and after treatment, a lot of men find it useful
to get some support for the emotional side of things. And so do
partners, family members and friends.
Your first reaction might be "I'll find my own way to cope,
thanks." And you're right, everyone finds their own way to deal
with things. But sometimes outside help can be useful.
You can tell your nurse, doctor or any other health
professionals you see how you are feeling.
You might already have your own support network. Would talking
to your partner, family and friends help take some of the pressure
off you? It might be the start of more open conversations so that
everyone can approach difficult topics.
Get in touch with people who have had similar experiences,
through your local prostate cancer support group or our online
community. If you'd rather speak one-to-one, try our telephone peer
Ask about counselling - a lot of men find it useful. Counsellors
are trained to listen, help you to understand your feelings and
find your own answers. Your GP can usually refer you to a
counsellor or you can pay for one and arrange it yourself. Contact
Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy for more
If you feel anxious or depressed:
- Tell someone how you are feeling - your GP or doctor or nurse
at the hospital can help.
- Anti-depressant medicine can be effective.
- Learning ways to relax such as yoga or meditation could help
- Exercise might ease feelings of anxiety or depression.
- Try keeping up with your usual hobbies and social activities.
Some men try new activities or do volunteering.
- Look for courses to learn ways to manage side effects, feelings
and relationships. Macmillan Cancer Support, the Expert
Patients Programme and Penny
Brohn Cancer Care offer free courses.