When you receive a diagnosis of prostate cancer, you may experience a range of feelings — including disbelief, fear, anger, anxiety and depression. With time, each man finds his own way of coping with a prostate cancer diagnosis. Until you find what works for you, try to:
- Learn enough about prostate cancer to feel comfortable making treatment decisions. Learn as much as you can about your cancer and its treatment. Having a better idea of what to expect from treatment and life after treatment can make you feel more in control of your cancer. Ask your doctor, nurse or other health care professional to recommend some reliable sources of information to get you started.
- Keep your friends and family close. Your friends and family can provide support during and after your treatment. Friends and family can help with the small tasks you won't have energy for during treatment. And having a close friend or family member to talk to can be helpful when you're feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
- Connect with other cancer survivors. Friends and family can't always understand what it's like to face cancer. Other cancer survivors provide a unique network of support. Ask your doctor or other member of your health care team about support groups or organizations in your community that can connect you with other cancer survivors. Organizations such as the American Cancer Society offer online chat rooms and discussion boards.
- Take care of yourself. Take care of yourself during cancer treatment by eating a diet full of fruits and vegetables. Try to exercise most days of the week. Get enough sleep each night so that you wake feeling rested.
- Continue sexual expression. If you experience erectile dysfunction, your natural reaction may be to avoid all sexual contact. But consider touching, holding, hugging and caressing as ways to continue sharing sexuality with your partner.
Complications of prostate cancer and its treatments include:
- Cancer that spreads. Prostate cancer can spread to nearby organs or travel through your bloodstream or lymphatic system to your bones or other organs. Prostate cancer that spreads to other areas of the body is more difficult to treat than cancer that is confined to the prostate.
- Incontinence. Both prostate cancer and its treatment can cause urinary incontinence. Treatment for incontinence depends on the type you have, how severe it is and the likelihood it will improve over time. Treatment options may include medications, catheters and surgery.
- Erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction can be a result of prostate cancer or its treatment, including surgery, radiation or hormone treatments. Medications, vacuum devices that assist in achieving erection and surgery are available to treat erectile dysfunction.
Factors that can increase your risk of prostate cancer include:
- Older age. The risk of prostate cancer increases with age. Prostate cancer is most common in men over 65.
- Being black. Black men have a greater risk of prostate cancer than do men of other races. It's not clear why this is.
- Family history of prostate cancer. If men in your family have had prostate cancer, your risk may be increased.
- Obesity. Obese men diagnosed with prostate cancer are more likely to have advanced disease that's more difficult to treat
It's not clear what causes prostate cancer. Doctors know that prostate cancer begins when some cells in your prostate become abnormal. Mutations in the abnormal cells' DNA cause the cells to grow and divide more rapidly than normal cells. The abnormal cells continue living, when other cells would die. The accumulating abnormal cells form a tumor that can grow to invade nearby tissue. Some abnormal cells can break off and spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.
Prostate cancer may not cause signs or symptoms in its early stages. Prostate cancer that is more advanced may cause signs and symptoms such as:
- Trouble urinating
- Decreased force in the stream of urine
- Blood in your urine
- Blood in your semen
- Swelling in your legs
- Discomfort in the pelvic area
- Bone pain
When to see a doctor
Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any signs or symptoms that worry you.
Ask your doctor about the benefits and risks of regular prostate cancer screening. Medical organizations differ on their recommendations for prostate cancer screening, but many advise men in their 50s to discuss the issue with their doctors.
Prostate cancer is cancer that occurs in a man's prostate — a small walnut-shaped gland that produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm.
Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men. Prostate cancer usually grows slowly and initially remains confined to the prostate gland, where it may not cause serious harm. While some types of prostate cancer grow slowly and may need minimal or no treatment, other types are aggressive and can spread quickly.
Prostate cancer that is detected early — when it's still confined to the prostate gland — has a better chance of successful treatment.
This post was modified from its original form on 29 Jun, 15:29