Coping With Prostate Cancer

Coping with Prostate Cancer

When you are told that you have cancer, you are immediately flooded with a rush of emotions. Anger, sadness, fear and grief can be among the many emotions you will experience during your journey with prostate cancer. Initially, it may feel overwhelming and this is normal. It doesn’t have to feel this way throughout your entire cancer experience, however. Coping with a cancer diagnosis can be difficult, but learning early on how to cope with cancer will provide you with strength and positive outlook you will need during treatment and beyond.

Organize a Support System
A good support system is vital to effectively coping with prostate cancer. Support can come in many forms, such as friends and family and also through support groups. Others find support through their clergy and other faith-based outlets. Online support can be found through cancer forums and websites, as well. Log onto the National Association For Continences online forum to connect with other who may be going through a similar situation as you. The key to good cancer support is learning to recognize when you need it and where to get the best support. Try different support systems until you find the one that is right for you.

Communicate Effectively with Your Doctor
One of the best coping strategies for prostate cancer is to effectively communicate with your doctor. Write down questions before hand to ask and let your doctor know if you do not fully understand something. Medical jargon can sound like a foreign language for many patients; don’t hesitate to say “I don’t understand what you are saying.” Having a good patient-doctor relationship starts with effective communication and this will help you to cope better with having prostate cancer.

Be Proactive in Your Health Care
When diagnosed with prostate cancer, you can make the choice to be passive in your treatment or to become your own patient advocate. Visit your local library or use the Internet to research your disease. An educated patient is an empowered patient. The more information you know about your cancer will help you make decisions about your care.

Know the Treatment Side Effects Beforehand
The side effects of cancer treatment cause many people to struggle with coping. Before treatment begins, ask your doctor what side effects you should expect. Will you have to change your day-to-day routine because of side effects? Some side effects can be prevented and relieved through medication and other interventions. Develop a course of action before side effects appear so that you have a plan in place to cope with them.

Don’t Refuse Help
Let’s face it, cancer stops for no person. The household chores will still need to be done and errands will still be waiting for you at the end of the day. Friends and family will likely offer their help. Let them help you! This is not the time to be stubborn about independence. You may find you don’t have a lot of time and energy to do the things you did before treatment. If someone offers to take care of the lawn or cook a meal, allow him or her to do so. It will help reduce your fatigue and allow you to focus on more important tasks.

Know Your Limits
With the holidays fast approaching, knowing your limits and sticking to them is a vital coping tool. Travel and other social events may not be possible during treatment. Recognize what is realistically possible to fit into your schedule and stick to it. Under the circumstances, friends and family will understand a declined invitation.

Understand Treatment Costs and Health Care Coverage
Understanding the financial aspects of cancer is an absolute essential during treatment. Know what is covered under your policy and if you are unsure of what is covered, ask your insurance provider. Your doctor’s office may also have a staff member that specializes in medical billing and benefits and will be able to answer your questions as well. Before treatment begins, know what services, treatments, and medications your insurance provider covers and what you will be responsible for. There is nothing more stressful than receiving a hefty bill from your physician or hospital especially when it is unexpected.

Use these tips as a guideline for coping with prostate cancer. Just as your whole cancer experience will differ from the next persons, so will your coping strategies. Don’t be afraid to try news ways to cope and don’t be too discouraged if a method doesn’t immediately meet your needs. Sometimes we need to try a few different coping methods before we find something that effectively helps us.

About the Author:
Lisa Fayed is a cancer educator, patient advocate, and medical writer. She has appeared in several publications and currently guides the About.com Cancer at www.cancer.about.com.

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10 Responses to Coping With Prostate Cancer

  1. Delorse says:

    I really learned about much of this, but however, I still believed it was practical. Nice post!

  2. Usha says:

    hello, very good blog site, and a fairly good understand! definitely one for my bookmarks.

    • Aditya says:

      I agree that this article rtpsenes an excellent discussion of the prostate cancer conundrum. The most significant point made is Dr. Brunnets statement in regard to perhaps as many as 80% of men not needing treatment that If the treatment was fairly straight-forward and risk free then this again would be an easy decision ..but treatment is either radical surgery or radiotherapy, both with a very high incidence of impotence (it occurs more often than not) and a significant risk of incontinence.”I think or at least I hope Dr. Brunnet was not including proton therapy in his reference to radiotherapy. Over 10,000 men have successfully been treated for prostate cancer with minimal side effects. I completed proton therapy for my prostate cancer about six months ago with no side effects. I have spent the last seven months researching the side effects of surgery, conventional radiation, and proton therapy and if anyone is aware of any solid study showing otherwise, I’d appreciate seeing it.Since all types of radiation (including proton) and surgery are equally effective in treating prostate cancer the answer to the Prostate Cancer Conundrum lies in selecting the treatment with the least side effects.Again, great article.Thanks,Harold Dawley, Ph.D.Diamondhead, MS

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  6. Sounds good. The most important thing that people have to understand is communicate with doctor regarding their problems. Do not feel afraid to visit doctor. By consulting with specialist, it is possible for you to know your problems and help to get remedy in earlier stages.

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