Living with prostate cancer
Living with prostate cancer is likely to have an impact on your emotional wellbeing as well as your physical health.
There is no right or wrong way to feel and many people experience a wide range of different emotions including shock, fear, guilt, anger and sadness.
Diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer can lead to a shift in your sense of identity, which can be difficult to deal with. For example, you may be unable to work or experience physical changes that affect your body image. It can also be an isolating experience and you may feel that those around you don’t understand.
These feelings are completely normal and they may continue or change over time. However, if you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression, it is very important to speak to your GP and seek professional help.
Symptoms of depression include:
- Feeling low or sad for most of the time
- Feeling hopeless
- Losing interest in things that you usually enjoy
- Changes in appetite, sleeping patterns and concentration
- Having suicidal thoughts or feelings of harming yourself.
How can I look after my emotional wellbeing?
The following suggestions may help you to look after your emotional wellbeing while living with prostate cancer. It is important to remember that different things will work for different people, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you find some of these steps difficult.
- Talk about how you feel. It can be difficult to talk about how you feel but it can help your emotional wellbeing. You can talk to people that you know well and trust such as friends and family. Some people find it easier to talk to someone they don’t know; your doctor or nurse may be able to refer you to a counselor who can help you to deal with the emotional impact of prostate cancer.
- Join a local support group. Support groups offer valuable support and information. They offer a safe space to ask questions, share your experiences and listen to others in a similar situation. This can help you to understand your own emotions and realize that you are not alone.
- Eat well. Eating a healthy, balanced diet can increase your energy levels and help to improve your mood.
- Physical activity. Exercising and taking part in physical activity can increase your energy levels, improve your mood and help to manage stress. It is important that you do not push yourself too hard as many treatments for prostate cancer may affect your ability to exercise. Even gentle exercise such as a short walk or walking up the stairs can help to improve your emotional wellbeing.
- Take time for yourself. Spending time doing things that you enjoy, whether that be drawing, gardening or watching TV, can give you something more positive to focus.
For more information and contact details for support groups and other useful organizations: