Living with Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer can be completely destroyed with treatment and partially regressed, as in some patients. Completing the treatment may give you some relief, but it is normal to be worried about the possibility of a relapse and this feeling will always be present. It is important to cope with these anxieties, learn to live together and make an effort to return to the normal routines of life after the treatment ends or while the treatment is ongoing. Learning to live with cancer that does not go away is difficult and very stressful. There may be a need for hormone therapy and/or chemotherapy to help keep the disease under control for as long as possible. The side effects of such treatments can adversely affect the quality of life.

Prostate cancer has some differences from other cancers seen in the body. Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer seen in the male population, but it is not lethal like other cancers. We can only diagnose 1/5 of all prostate cancers, only 1/5 of the patients we diagnose and treat die from prostate cancer, so it may be necessary to divide prostate cancers into two categories, clinically significant and insignificant.

Follow-up and Control in Prostate Cancer

Even if you have completed treatment, close monitoring and regular check-ups are required, so it is very important that you attend all your follow-up appointments. During these check-ups, you will be asked questions about any problems you are experiencing, and examinations and laboratory tests and/or imaging tests will be requested for research on the side effects of cancer or treatments. Some side effects of treatment may last for a long time or may occur even years after you have finished treatment. It is important to provide information about new symptoms at each check-up, the appearance of certain symptoms may be a sign of relapse or further progression of the disease or even a secondary cancer.

Routine check-ups usually include a digital rectal exam, PSA blood tests, and possibly a digital rectal exam if your prostate has not been removed. The frequency of checkups and tests depends on the stage and grade of the cancer and the likelihood of recurrence. PSA testing is usually recommended approximately every 6 months for the first 5 years after treatment and at least annually thereafter. Bone scans or other imaging tests may also be done, depending on your medical condition and symptoms.

Follow-up and planning of daily life

Living and planning with prostate cancer includes:

  • A record containing information about a summary of the treatment you have received, recording test results and reports

  • Records of the timings and appointments of follow-up and controls

  • Early detection of secondary cancers that may develop, screening tests and their timing. Planning tests to investigate the long-term health effects of existing cancer and/or treatment

  • A list of possible late or long-term side effects of your treatment, including what to consider when returning to a routine life and when to contact your doctor.

  • Engaging in recommendations that can improve your overall health, including reducing the chance of the cancer returning

Can I reduce the risk of progression and/or recurrence of prostate cancer?

  • doing regular physical activity : Although it has been claimed that exercising regularly after treatment may be less likely to die from prostate cancer than those who do not, this has not been fully proven. How much and what kind of sports or the amount of activities to be done is a matter of debate, but it is recommended to do sports and exercise according to the person’s capacity.

  • Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight: It is known that overweight and obese men tend to have a worse prognosis when diagnosed with prostate cancer. However, it is not clear whether losing the existing excess weight will reduce this risk.

  • Quitting smoking: The probability of recurrence of prostate cancer and the risk of dying from prostate cancer were found to be higher in smokers compared to non-smokers. Therefore, it is recommended that patients with prostate cancer quit smoking.

  • Nutrition and dietary supplements: As with other types of cancer, it has been found that patients with prostate cancer may benefit from foods rich in vegetables and lower in animal fats. However, we do know that a healthy diet can have positive effects on our overall health, beyond reducing the risk of developing prostate or other cancers.

So far, no dietary supplement has been proven to be clearly beneficial in reducing the risk of progression or recurrence of prostate cancer. In fact, it is argued that some supplements, such as selenium, are not as beneficial as claimed, and may even be harmful. In addition, it should not mean that no supplements will be beneficial, these products are not in the category of drugs, and their benefits do not need to be proven to be placed on the market. If you are considering taking any type of dietary supplement, talk to your healthcare team. They can help you weed out the harmful ones and decide which ones you can safely use.

Support for Patients with Prostate Cancer

Extreme tiredness and feeling tired: Extreme fatigue and/or exhaustion, frustration and lack of energy are very common in prostate cancer patients. This can affect daily life, social activities, sleep, and general concentration. every patient copes with this complaint quite well, some patients may require additional support. Sometimes small changes that can help improve your fatigue can help you feel better.

If you feel very tired, you should not drive.

Urinary incontinence: A certain amount and severity of urinary incontinence can be seen after prostate cancer surgery or after radiotherapy, which is expected. Urinary incontinence may occur immediately after surgery, but may improve over time. After radiotherapy, urinary incontinence may not start immediately, it usually starts later and may increase in severity over time.

Urinary incontinence may be embarrassing to you, there are some medical products that can help with this. Incontinence pads cover your underwear and absorb leaked urine. Some artificial prostheses can be applied in excessive urinary incontinence, it is recommended to talk to your doctor for this.

urinary tract stricture : If you have difficulty urinating, it may be due to the tumor pressing on the urinary tract. Sometimes it may be necessary to remove a portion of the prostate, or medication may be given, using a closed method, called transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP). This surgery is aimed at making you urinate more easily, rather than curing the cancer.

Sexuality: Prostate cancer treatment often seriously affects sexual function. Prostate cancer treatments can damage the nerves and blood circulation to the penis, making it difficult to get or maintain an erection, called erectile dysfunction. If you’re on hormone therapy, it can also affect your sex drive. You may feel sad, angry, or stressed, and these feelings can change your feelings about sex. Just being diagnosed with prostate cancer can affect your sex drive. It is important to seek medical support for this. Learning to be comfortable and at peace with your body during and after prostate cancer treatment takes a personal effort, and it’s different for everyone. Information and support can help you cope with these changes over time. Talking and sharing about your partner, sex, and how you’re coping with cancer can help a little bit. Talking about this topic can be difficult, but your doctor can help you get treatment and support.

Emotional support: Being told you have cancer can come as a huge shock, causing different fears and emotions for you and your loved ones. Living with prostate cancer can affect your daily life, work, and relationships. Feelings of depression, anxiety, or anxiety are normal when prostate cancer is a part of your life. Some patients may be more affected than others. Patients with prostate cancer can benefit from help and support from friends and family, certain religious groups, prostate cancer support groups, professional counselors, and others.

Hormone changes: The male hormone ‘Testosterone’ is mainly made by the testicles and is an essential hormone for prostate function. Hormone therapy lowers the amount of testosterone in your body, which can affect your overall mood, including your sex drive. You may feel tearful or angry, or you may not feel your usual self. These feelings are normal and are caused by hormone therapy. You can get support from your doctor regarding this issue.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Will I be able to work?: Practically cancer patients can often return to their daily work routines. However, some patients may work part-time, have reduced workload and weight, or may wish to retire. There is no single truth in this matter, medical necessity and the patient’s desire are decisive in this regard. You may be on leave or off for a long time during or after the treatment, this period will give you the opportunity to organize your future life.

Will I be able to travel?: If you drive, you need to be very careful about how your treatment affects you. Driving is not recommended if you are tired or feel unwell. If you are planning to travel abroad, it may affect where you go and for how long. Having cancer shouldn’t stop you from traveling, as long as you’re not disrupting treatment.

palliative care

If you have advanced prostate cancer, you may hear the term supportive or palliative care. The focus of palliative care is to manage any pain you have and to help you find ways to cope with the bothersome symptoms. Palliative care is not just for patients in the last stages of their lives, it also includes support to help you prepare for this situation. It refers to a variety of professional help to help you find ways to cope with troubling symptoms and to offer you and your family the emotional and practical support you need.

Secondary Cancers at High Risk of Developing After Prostate Cancer Treatment

Patients with prostate cancer have a higher risk of developing other types of cancer than normal people. These are called second cancers. Getting treatment for prostate cancer doesn’t mean you can’t get another cancer.

The types of cancer that are at high risk of developing prostate cancer patients are:

  • small bowel cancer

  • soft tissue cancer

  • bladder cancer

  • thyroid cancer

  • Thymus cancer

  • skin melanoma

Cancers at high risk of developing in prostate cancer patients receiving radiation therapy include: This risk is probably related to the radiation dose. New radiation therapy delivery techniques may have different effects on risks of developing a second cancer

  • rectal cancer

  • acute myeloid leukemia (AML)

Can I reduce my risk of developing a second cancer?

  • Reach and stay at a healthy weight

  • Quit smoking: Smoking can increase the risk of bladder cancer as well as increase the risk of many other cancers.

  • Be physically active and limit the time you spend sitting or lying down

  • It’s helpful to switch to a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and limits or avoids red and processed meats, sugary drinks, and highly processed foods.

  • Do not drink alcohol, if you do, limit the amount as much as possible.

Recurrence of Prostate Cancer

Learning that the cancer has come back is distressing, and all the thoughts and feelings you had when you were first diagnosed may come back. These feelings and fears may even be stronger than before. Some patients may also use the same coping mechanisms that they used during the initial cancer diagnosis, during relapse or in the case of a secondary cancer. For many men, even if the cancer comes back after treatment, they may still be slow growing and continue to live long and active lives. In this case, your doctor will provide suggestions for the treatment of the disease and to cope with this situation, there is no need for fuss and panic.

Cancer may have recurred as local-local, locally-advanced, regional and distant or metastasized, these terms may be unfamiliar to you, but this distinction provides important clues for guiding treatment.

  • Local-Local Recurrence : Tumor recurrence is still in the prostate and has not spread to other parts of the body. In this case, a further treatment method will be recommended to you.

  • Local-forward or Regional Relapse: It means that the cancer has spread to areas just outside the prostate, but not to other parts of the body. Again, in this case, there are various treatment options.

  • Distant or metastatic recurrence: Cancer means that it has spread or “metastasized” to other distant parts of your body other than the prostate. You may have cancer cells in your blood or bones. In this case, different treatment methods and drugs will be recommended. In this case, it is not possible to get rid of cancer completely, which can be sad and shocking to hear. Treatments to help control the spread of cancer cells, such as hormone therapy or chemotherapy, may be needed.

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