After being diagnosed with prostate cancer, it’s common for you to see a number of health professionals with different expertise who work together as a team. Best practice treatment and supportive care for people with cancer involve a team of different health professionals.
Each team member brings different skills that are important in managing care and in making decisions around your individual needs. The team includes health professionals who are involved in:
- diagnosing your cancer
- treating your cancer
- managing symptoms and side effects
- assisting you with your feelings or concerns during your cancer journey
The cancer journey is your personal experience of cancer. It’s not the same for everybody, even with the same type of cancer.
Look After Yourself
The better you care for yourself, the better you will get through the emotional and physical challenges you may experience.
Strategies for looking after yourself include:
- Eat Well – Provides the energy and nutrition required through treatment.
- Exercise – Regular exercise can assist in preventing tiredness and fatigue, lift your mood, and help you to sleep. (Note: discuss with your healthcare team the level of physical activity that is okay for you, depending on your individual situation.)
- Talk – Don’t block your emotions or reactions, as this can lead to further anxiety or frustration. Discuss your feelings with someone close, this may help you cope and make sense of your situation.
- Time out – Take time out from cancer wherever possible; undertake social activities and hobbies you previously enjoyed.
- Rest and Relaxation – Rest is as important as exercise, particularly during treatment and just afterwards. Relaxation exercises or techniques such as meditation can assist in managing stress. Talk with your healthcare team for information about relaxation exercises or techniques.
Just as you’re coming to terms with the emotional impact of your diagnosis, you may be faced with a difficult choice between several different treatment options. This can be a very challenging stage of your journey, and the time at which you may require the most support. If you have a partner, it is important to include them at this stage as prostate cancer treatments can have personal side effects that can impact them too. Making your partner part of the decision-making process will help both of you cope during and after receiving treatment.
- Take Your Time – You usually don’t have to make a decision about treatment right away. Discuss with your healthcare team a suitable timeframe to make treatment decisions.
- Gain Information – Seek further information about your prostate cancer and treatment options from reliable sources. There are numerous sources of information on the internet, however, not all of it is reliable or relevant to you and your situation.
- Talk – Talk to healthcare team members involved in your care. Prepare yourself with questions before appointments and write down the answers so that you can review them later. Some men find it useful to keep a diary of their notes and appointments as a strategy for coping with all the information they are receiving.
- Ask – Ask for extra information or further explanations if you are unsure about what you have been told.
- Support – Take your partner or someone close to appointments to provide both support as well as another pair of ears. This can be useful when trying to remember what was said clearly.
- Support groups – Prostate Cancer Foundation Australia (PCFA) has established prostate cancer support groups all around Australia. Support and advice can be received from men who have been in the same position as you. This can include phone support. To find your nearest group, visit www.pcfa.org.au.