Prostate cancer and its treatment can affect your body and
physical health. All treatments for prostate cancer cause
short-term of long-term side effects. In many cases these side
effects can be treated, improved or managed.
There are lots of ways to get support for physical side effects:
let your doctor and nurse know, and if they can't help then they
can refer you to other services, even if it has been a while since
you had treatment for prostate cancer. You can also call our
confidential Helpline and speak to a
All treatments for prostate cancer can cause tiredness
(fatigue). This can be during and after treatment. Your tiredness
could improve after your treatment has finished. How tired you feel
during and after treatment will vary. Some men find their tiredness
is more long-lasting. Hormone therapy in particular can cause
extreme tiredness. Men who have prostate cancer that has spread to
other parts of the body (advanced prostate cancer) are also more
likely to feel tired.
But tiredness can affect your energy levels, your motivation,
ability to concentrate and your emotions. It can be difficult to
deal with, especially if you are used to being very active - but
there are things that can help.
Where can I get help?
Let your doctor or nurse know how you feel and how tiredness is
affecting you. They can check what is causing it and look for ways
to help you. Tiredness may be due to your treatment but it can also
have other causes such as the cancer itself or other
If you have extreme tiredness as a result of prostate cancer and
treatments, our Get back
on track service could help you manage your fatigue so you can
do the things you want to do. It's a ten-week telephone service
delivered by our Specialist Nurses. Call our Specialist Nurses
on 0800 074 8383 to find out whether the service is likely to help
What else can help?
Sort out your daily routine, prioritise important tasks and make
time for rest.
Gentle exercise such as walking or swimming can help to reduce
tiredness. Speak to your doctor before starting any exercise
If you are struggling to eat enough and have lost weight, this
may be adding to your tiredness. Ask your GP or specialist team to
refer you to a dietitian for advice about your diet. Get more
information and diet and physical activity.
If you're finding it hard to get to sleep you could
tryrelaxation techniques and dealing with any worries that are
keeping you awake. In some cases, men take medicines to help with
their sleep, speak to your GP about this.
Get support if you are feeling
depressed or anxious, as this can be related to tiredness in
people with cancer.
Some research shows that some alternative therapies can help
people with cancer manage tiredness. These types of therapies
include: acupuncture, breathing control, muscle relaxation,
massage, yoga and different types of meditation. To find out more
contact the British Complementary Medicine Association
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Radiotherapy for prostate cancer (external beam radiotherapy and
brachytherapy) can cause bowel problems for some men. Radiation can
cause the lining of the bowel to become inflamed (proctitis) which
then leads to symptoms such as loose and watery stools (diarrhoea),
pain in the stomach area (abdomen) or back passage, or, more
rarely, bleeding from the back passage. Some men find that changes
to their bowel habits last for a short time or they can change
permanently. Some men develop bowel problems months or years after
What can help?
Let your doctor or nurse know about any changes in your bowel
habits. There are medicines available that can help with symptoms
and control diarrhoea.
If you have long term bowel problems, ask to be referred to a
bowel specialist (gastroenterologist). You may have a further test
to check for any damage to the bowel.
Self-management of bowel problems
- Try to follow a normal diet and drink plenty of fluids.
- Although a diet high in fibre such as fruit and vegetables is
generally healthy, some men find that too much fibre makes
diarrhoea and wind worse.
- Eating a low fibre diet for a short time may help with these
symptoms. Low fibre foods include rice, potatoes (without skins),
pasta and meat.
- Some men find that gentle exercise, such as regular walks, can
help with bowel problems after radiotherapy.
about diet and physical activity.
Cancer Support and the Bladder and Bowel Foundation produce detailed
information about coping with bowel problems.
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