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.
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.
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 worried.
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 the future.
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 One-to-one support service.
Ask about counselling - a lot of men find it useful. Counsellors are trained to listen and can help you to find your own ways to deal with things. Relate offer counselling sessions to individuals, couples or family members affected by prostate cancer up and down the country.
Your GP can also usually refer you to a counsellor or you can pay for one and arrange it yourself. Contact the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy for more information.
Updated: Jul 2013 | Due for Review: Jul 2015