Prostate Cancer: Coping with Your Diagnosis
A diagnosis of prostate cancer can affect a man in many ways. It’s normal to be scared, angry, or depressed after diagnosis. The good news is that prostate cancer is very treatable. But each man copes with the diagnosis in his own way. But there are some common feelings and concerns that many men may feel after diagnosis. You may have some of these feelings, too.
Not wanting to talk about it
You may not feel comfortable talking about your diagnosis. But it’s important to realize that it also affects those around you. Prostate cancer is very common. Talking about it with your partner and family will help you and them deal with it. Talk with them about what your health care provider tells you, how it makes you feel, and what your concerns are. Together you can learn about your cancer diagnosis, the risks and benefits of treatments, and how they may affect on your life.
Not being honest with your health care provider
Some men are embarrassed or feel guilty for ignoring signs of prostate cancer, or not seeing their health care provider because they don’t want a prostate exam. Some men don’t go back to see their health care provider after a prostate cancer diagnosis is made, choosing instead to treat themselves with alternative medicine or ignore the diagnosis. Or you may want a second opinion from another health care provider. Be honest with yourself and your health care provider, and form a partnership. It’s normal to get a second opinion and research all of the care options. Health care providers know that it’s normal to get a second opinion to confirm a diagnosis or to talk about treatment options. Your health care providers want to help you.
Feeling a threat to your sexuality
The prostate gland is part a man's sexual function. It affects the ability to have children. Being diagnosed with prostate cancer can cause upset, such as feeling like less of a man. Many men worry about sexual performance. It’s good to keep in mind that the effect on sexual function varies. Treatment options make a difference. You can help ease your fears by talking with your health care provider about ways to minimize sexual changes after treatment.
Being afraid to ask for help
It’s normal to feel helpless or alone when you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer. But you’re far from alone. Consider going to a support group. You will find many other men who have been in the same situation. You may also want to bring your partner or a friend as a support person. You may be amazed at how much meeting other men who understand your situation can lower your stress. Ask your health care provider where the prostate cancer support groups are in your area.
- Alteri, Rick MD
- MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician