Coping During Prostate Cancer Treatment

Older man and woman sitting on couch, talking.No matter what type of treatment you choose, life with prostate cancer can be challenging. Your goal during treatment should be to live as normal a life as possible. Your healthcare team can help you to cope with any physical and emotional issues. The support of your family and friends can help, too.

Some changes to expect

  • Changes in sexual function. Treatment for prostate cancer may affect your sexual function. This includes your interest in sex or sex drive. And it also includes erectile dysfunction (ED). This is when you have trouble getting or keeping an erection. Often, these problems can be treated. The type of treatment you receive, your age at diagnosis, and your sexual function before treatment can all affect your risk of ED and changes in sex drive after cancer therapy. Talk with your urologist for help. And talk with your partner about ways to make sure your relationship is satisfying for both of you.

  • Urinary problems. Bladder control can change after surgery or radiation therapy for prostate cancer. It usually returns in several weeks or months. You may have some loss of bladder control. Or you may find it hard to urinate. Be sure to empty your bladder fully when urinating. Any urine left in the bladder for a long time may cause a urinary tract infection. If you can’t empty your bladder fully, talk with your healthcare team right away. Most urinary problems can be treated. The treatments can include special exercises, medicine, or surgery.

During treatment

During treatment, your urologist will watch your health. Your healthcare team will help you treat any symptoms caused by treatment. Each man responds differently to prostate cancer treatment. Keep talking with your team during treatment. Talk about any concerns or questions you have.

After treatment

Your urologist will continue to watch your health. Your healthcare team will also help you treat any ongoing symptoms caused by treatment. The American Cancer Society gives specific advice for men with a history of prostate cancer. This includes:

  • Checking with your healthcare provider before taking any supplements

  • Keeping a healthy weight with physical activity and a healthy diet

Above all, think about how best to live your life. Prostate cancer may or may not shorten your life. But living life to the fullest is a good goal for anyone.