How to Stay Centered When Newly Diagnosed with Prostate Cancer
So often, after learning of a prostate cancer diagnosis, the focus is only on doctors. Yes, doctors play a crucial role in surviving prostate cancer, but they are not the whole story.
Emotional and mental health are also extremely important throughout the process.
To hear more about how men with prostate cancer look after their wellbeing during the treatment process, we asked the community: “What advice would you give to someone newly diagnosed with prostate cancer?”
More than 175 community members offered their experience and advice. Here is what they said about how to handle the emotional and mental challenges of the early fight against prostate cancer.
Surround yourself with support
Nobody wants to feel alone while going through something difficult -- and you do not have to go it alone. Friends and family are great, especially if they just let you vent without trying to ‘fix’ the situation. That said, you may get even more from talking with men who have had or are going through prostate cancer. There are online communities, such as ProstateCancer.net, and your hospital may also have a support group (which might be meeting on Zoom or a similar online platform).
“Talk with men who have gone through it.”
“Surround yourself with support.”
Live your life as you did before
After diagnosis, it can be easy to fear the worst -- and allow that fear to have you believe your life is over. It is not. Your life will be different, moving forward. But there is life ahead. Several in the community shared that it is important to keep living, whether that means Sunday night dinners with families or Friday date night or whatever it is. Still make time for the activities that bring you happiness.
“Do not stop making plans. Pull your friends and family close.”
“The options today are very positive. Still live your life as you did before.”
Do not rush—most men have time
Fear and panic can lead someone to feel that they need to make a decision yesterday. Yes, time is important, but so is making a decision while clear headed. Take time to do your research and also take care of yourself. You need to take care of yourself throughout it all, starting at the beginning.
“Give yourself enough time to recover from the initial shock of the cancer diagnosis. Do not make quick decisions, especially while in shock. Take the time to understand your test results, research the options, and seek multiple opinions.”
“Do not rush—most men have time. Rest in between research because you will get tired.”
Maintain a strong mental presence
An often overlooked side effect of a cancer diagnosis is possible depression. It is hard to wake up and fight a battle every day. Yes, the odds of this one are in your favor, but it is still hard to grieve the life you had before this journey started. Keep this in mind, and do what you can to safeguard your emotional wellbeing. Talk with friends who lift you up. Allow yourself to rest, but do not let that rest languish into avoidance or isolation. Enlist friends or family members to go for walks with you or do other things that keep you feeling hopeful.
“Maintain a strong mental presence. It will be easy to get depressed, but you are alive today and will be for more days after.”
“Take it one day at a time and never give in.”
“There will be tough times but there is hope. Do not give up and do not quit.
We want to say thank you to everyone who offered such helpful suggestions. If you have other suggestions or want to share what works well for you when feeling overwhelmed by prostate cancer, tell us more in the comments.
Were you aware of family history of cancer, prior to diagnosis?