Your cancer counts
My cancer matters
Once prostate cancer has spread outside the prostate gland, it is defined as advanced. It could affect the lymph nodes, nearby tissues, bones, or other body regions. Metastatic prostate cancer is defined by spreading beyond the tissues that are directly adjacent to the prostate gland.
Prostate cancer highly affects the quality of life of those who suffer from it, mainly at an advanced stage. So it can be difficult sometimes to manage the illness daily. Fortunately, you will be able to go through this hardship a little more calmly if you focus on what is the most important for you.
One day at a time
There is no easy way to receive an advanced cancer diagnosis or to learn that your cancer has progressed. Struggling to understand what it means for your life can leave you feeling anything from overwhelmed and completely numb to angry, sad and afraid.
The important thing to understand is that there’s no “right” way to deal with the feelings you have right now. You and your loved ones will process this new stage in your life in the way that works best for you.
Overcoming the disease
Far too often, patients are told they just have to accept the fact that they are sick. In fact, it doesn’t have to be that way. While the patient should acknowledge the presence of the cancer, the need for treatment and the consequent side effects, he need not passively accept losing control over his life and resign himself to it.
Adopting a combative attitude and refusing to give up can actually be very good for morale. It may also be the best way to deal with those really tough days.
Many people find that this kind of diagnosis gives them a new perspective on life and a new drive to focus on the people, relationships and activities that matter most to them.
Looking after yourself
Your healthcare team will help you put together a treatment plan that best suits your needs, but there are also many things that you and your loved ones can do to enrich your quality of life over this journey. Remember that everyone responds differently to cancer and its treatment, so it’s important to work together to find the solutions that work best for you.
By looking after your own mental, emotional and physical well-being, you’ll be better equipped to deal with the changes that come from living with advanced cancer and its treatment.
The role you play in looking after yourself is just as important as any medicine or treatment.
The well-being by exercising
When we are healthy, the well-being comes naturally. It is very different with a disease such as prostate cancer. You can still stimulate that feeling thanks to physical activity and a healthy diet. It is by taking care of yourself that you will feel better.
You don’t have to follow an intensive training to feel good, especially since treatments against prostate cancer may weaken your muscle mass and cause fatigue. Simple activities of lower intensity can totally help to enhance your humor and reduce the fatigue you are experiencing.
Walking or making yoga, for example, can help you feeling better by producing endorphins. You can also opt for an activity that helps to reinforce your bones and muscles, such as climbing the stairs or gardening. The most important is to choose what interests and motivates you.
The benefits of nutrition
Nutrition contributes to the well-being you feel as well. However, treatments against prostate cancer can cause a loss of appetite or stomach pains, which does not ease a healthy and balanced diet.
To overcome this problem, you can opt for smaller meals but more often, for example by eating five times a day instead of three. This can help to reduce various digestive problems. You can also ask your care team to help you to choose the best foods for you.
We forget too often that the simplest pleasures are making life better. Learn to enjoy any moment and to appreciate what is surrounding you. Your family and friends are there to support you, but they are there to give you many moments of joy and fun as well. You can also take time to discover all the community resources available in your area – you will probably find additional support there.
My relationships count
A diagnosis of prostate cancer, mainly at an advanced stage, can modify your relationships with some people of your entourage. People do not all manage news such as a serious disease in the same way, so some of them can feel uncomfortable to discuss this delicate matter with you. On the other side, it will not change your relationships with some others at all, or you will be even closer to them.
Defining my expectations
You cannot guess how your entourage will react when facing prostate cancer. Yet, you can express your expectations or your needs regarding some people, that is to say you can indicate them the kind of support you are expecting from them, whether it is a practical help or simply to be listened.
Nothing obliges you to share the details of your situation with everyone either. Thus, when you do not wish to talk about the disease or your treatment, you should mention it straight away to those you are with, since it might be the first subject they will try to discuss. After all, there are thousands of other topics to talk about!
Confiding myself and asking for help
Everyone needs someone to confide themselves, and it is even truer when it comes to facing a hardship such as an advanced prostate cancer. Whether it is your life partner, your best friend or another relative, it is important for you to have someone to talk to about your worries or your feelings, without receiving advices back.
Moreover, other people in your entourage will always be available to help you in different ways. Even if it is difficult for you, do not hesitate to request their help when you feel that you need it, whether it is to accompany you to an appointment, to do your shopping, or to prepare a meal.
Understanding my relatives
With prostate cancer, your life has changed, but those of your relatives too. They are worried for you and some of them are giving you more time than before while keeping all their other activities, which can make them just as tired as you.
Of course, since these persons wish to support you, they could omit to tell you they do not have the energy to help you today. If possible, try to ask help to different persons for different activities, to avoid exhausting them. In this way, you will help your relatives to help you better.
If needed, you can also seek for support among resources in your area, for yourself, but also for your friends and family members that accompany you. After all, you are not the only one facing prostate cancer, since your entourage is going through this hardship with you.
My job counts
It is often difficult to find balance between work and illness, especially with an advanced prostate cancer. Treatments, just like the disease itself, often cause a decreased energy, which affects your capacity to work. Thus, the fear of losing your job or a part of your revenues can generate a lot of additional stress. It is why you must consider all the options you have.
Adopting a strategy for my job
If you wish to keep working despite prostate cancer and its treatments, you should first find ways to stay at work with your care team. For example, you can identify the type of work you can do as well as the duration of the task. Your physician can also suggest you some ways to manage the side effects while working.
When you are working, plan your professional activities based on your capabilities and your availability. In this way, your employer can be prepared in case of absence, whether it is for a short or long term.
Planning my withdrawal from work
Repeated absences from work due to a treatment against prostate cancer can make you lose a great part of your income, just like a prolonged or even a definitive leave. Therefore, it could be wise to consult a financial planner to know your options in case of a permanent withdrawal.
For a temporary absence, but more or less prolonged, a social worker can also guide you towards financial resources available for you or other kinds of support. It is important that you do not feel powerless regarding your situation.
Being busy without working
Despite your will, it is possible that prostate cancer meets your limits and that you end up being unable to work regularly, which would oblige you to withdraw definitely from work. Fortunately, it does not mean that you cannot do anything. It is possible for you to turn yourself towards other professional activities or to some volunteering once in a while.
Consequently, you can still feel useful while practicing an activity that is not too exhausting, and mostly pleasant for you. This allows you to meet people and to work on your own capabilities. Prostate cancer may take you a lot of energy, yet you can easily dedicate what you still have to a cause dear to you.
Your intimate life
My sexuality and my intimacy count
It is obvious that prostate cancer can highly affect the sexual and intimate life of the sick one, especially at an advanced stage. These impacts can be physical as well as emotional. Nonetheless, it is natural to seek for satisfying relationships with your partner.
Preserving my intimacy
In fact, being in couple or single, the intimacy occupies a great part of our lives, whether it is sexual or emotional, and it should not be neglected. In this way, maintaining your intimate life, just like eating well or exercising, will allow you to get a certain daily balance, despite prostate cancer.
However, it is possible that your relationships get modified and that you have to redefine your view on intimacy. As you probably know it, prostate cancer can cause erectile difficulties, for example. This could oblige you to find new means to satisfy your partner, and to get some satisfaction out of it yourself.
To preserve your intimacy adequately, it is essential to keep an open communication with your partner, both regarding your relationship and the other parts of your lives. By sharing your fears and expectations with them, you will strengthen your relationship and you will be able to redefine it together. Moreover, your partner will have better tools to accompany and support you.
A strategy that works for me
Besides redefining your intimacy and communicating, there are several means to address sexuality regarding prostate cancer and its consequences. It is by exploring these possibilities that you will find what works the best for your partner and you.
Your care team or the health professionals who are taking care of you can give you advices if you ask them. These persons can also refer you to support groups or suggests some educative material, depending on your ease to talk about that part of your life to other people.
Finally, it is important to show some openness regarding new ideas and experiences. Maybe a close relative or a professional will suggest you some new things to better address your new sexual reality. It is by staying open to anything new and changes that you will manage to redefine your intimate life in a way that suits you.
When the end is near
The end of my journey counts
It is difficult to address matters related to end of life. It is however an essential step, particularly with an advanced prostate cancer diagnosis. Your first concerns might be for financial or professional questions. Nonetheless, you will soon need to consider anything related to end of life care and death.
It is important to discuss of these questions, as much with your relatives than with your care team. This will help you to put everything in order, but also to know what your desires are.
Preparing my end of life care
Since you have an advanced prostate cancer, your care team will suggest you treatments to alleviate your pain or extend your life. The more the disease will progress, the more you will have chances to be hospitalized. So you will have to take decisions regarding your care and treatments.
And what if you cannot decide anymore? Before getting there, you can assign a power of attorney for personal care to someone trustworthy who knows your desires. You can also prepare a living will, so your relatives and your care team can know your wishes regarding questions such as resuscitation, respiratory help, accepted treatments or even a treatment refusal.
Organizing my death
You don’t know when, but you know that prostate cancer will take you away. To avoid leaving a burden to your relatives, it is better to think to your will and your funeral arrangements while you can do it.
Writing your will or updating it ensures you a good managing of your legacy. In addition, it allows you to choose an executor to take care of respecting your wishes. In the same vein, a power of attorney for property allows you to nominate someone to take care of your finances before you pass away, if you cannot do it anymore.
Moreover, organizing your funerals will give some relief to your relatives, since they will not have to manage these matters while grieving their loss. These arrangements will result in a ceremony that suits you and respects your desires for this day full of emotions.
Finally, it is very important to be able to say goodbye to your dearest ones, whether they are family or friends. Don’t wait until the last moment to require their presence, make your farewells to them, and tell them that you love them. This will bring you some comfort and will allow you to appreciate even more every moment spent with these people.
Preparing your leave, particularly regarding practical matters, but also on the relational level, will probably help you to address advanced prostate cancer and its consequences in a more serene way.
We are here for you
Our urology healthcare professionals are there to listen, support and answer questions from patients, their families, the public and healthcare professionals. Feel free to contact them.
Also take the time to visit each of our pages on this website, as well as our YouTube channel, in order to get familiar with the disease, with our expert lectures, our section on available resources, the support that is offered to you, our events and ways to get involve to advance the cause.