Side Effects Of Treatment
Treatments for prostate cancer can cause side effects, which might carry on after your treatment has finished. Some side effects can even start several months or years after treatment finishes.
Side effects will affect each man differently you may not get all the possible side effects from your treatment.
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Managing side effects
Side effects can affect your day-to-day life, but there are treatments for them, as well as things you can do to manage them yourself. Its important to speak to your doctor, nurse or GP about them.
If youre having problems with a side effect, you might have a meeting with your doctor or nurse to work out what support you need. They may refer you to someone who can give you more advice and support.
Read more about managing the side effects of prostate cancer treatment.
Who Should Get Hormonal Therapy
Testosterone serves as the main fuel for the growth of prostate cancer cells. In hormone therapy, medicines are given to lower your testosterone levels in the body in order to control prostate cancer. It is not a first-line treatment, says Damon Davis, M.D., a board-certified urologist at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, and not recommended for men whose cancer has not spread. Rather, it is primarily for men with advanced prostate cancer or in conjunction with radiation for higher risk prostate cancers. The side effects of hormonal therapy range from hot flashes to mood swings to weight gain and erectile dysfunction.
Common Thoughts And Feelings
You may feel all sorts of things after you finish treatment. Some men are relieved and feel ready to put the cancer behind them and get back to normal life. But others find it difficult to move on. Adjusting to life after cancer can take time.
For some men, the emotional impact of what they have been through only hits them after they have finished treatment. You might feel angry for example, angry at what you have been through, or about the side effects of treatment. Or you might feel sad or worried about the future.
Follow-up appointments can also cause different emotions. You might find it reassuring to see the doctor or nurse, or you may find it stressful, particularly in the few days before your appointments.
Worries about your cancer coming back
You may worry about your cancer coming back. This is natural, and will often improve with time. There are things you can do to help manage your concerns, such as finding ways to reduce stress. Breathing exercises and listening to music can help you relax and manage stress. Some people find that it helps to share what theyre thinking with somebody else, like a friend. If you are still struggling, you can get help for stress or anxiety on the NHS you can refer yourself directly to a psychological therapies service or ask your GP.
If youre worried about your PSA level or have any new symptoms, speak to your doctor or nurse. If your cancer does come back, you’ll be offered further treatment.
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Am I At Risk For Prostate Cancer
An individuals risk for prostate cancer can be influenced by a number of environment and lifestyle factors. Family history, race, age, nationality, physical activity, and diet can all play a role in risk for this disease. Therefore, the risk of prostate cancer can vary significantly between individuals. For instance, African-American men are almost twice as likely to develop prostate cancer as other American men. The American Cancer Society suggests that men discuss their risk factors with their physician to learn more.
Choosing The Best Treatment
It can be difficult to choose the best treatment for you. Your doctor and specialist nurse will explain the different treatment options and help you make a decision. The Predict Prostate tool can also help you decide between monitoring and radical treatment. We have more information about this tool further down this page.
A UK trial showed that there can be very little difference in survival between the treatments especially if you are diagnosed with early prostate cancer.
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Treatment For Cpg 1 Localised Prostate Cancer
You might not have treatment straight away. Instead, your doctor recommends monitoring your cancer closely and then discussing treatment if the cancer begins to grow. This is called active surveillance.
If you decide to have treatment, it might include:
- surgery to remove your prostate or
- external radiotherapy
When Youre Told You Have Prostate Cancer
- What are the chances that the cancer has spread beyond my prostate? If so, is it still curable?
- Do I need any other tests before we decide on treatment?
- Should I see any other types of doctors before deciding on treatment?
- What is the clinical stage and grade of my cancer? What do those mean to me?
- If Im concerned about the costs and insurance coverage for my diagnosis and treatment, who can help me?
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What Happens Between Appointments
Contact your doctor or nurse if you have any concerns or get any new symptoms or side effects between your follow-up appointments.
Its important to speak to them if youre concerned about anything dont worry about them being too busy.
You can get support or advice over the telephone, or they might bring forward the date of your nextfollow-up appointment.
Recently Diagnosed With Prostate Cancer 10 Important Questions You Should Ask Your Doctor
A prostate cancer diagnosis may come unexpectedly. Considering that prostate cancer develops slowly and without causing severe symptoms, you might have been taken by surprise when diagnosed with cancer.
Generally, people are not able to organize their thoughts under stressful conditions. Probably there were many times when you found yourself emotionally distressed and could not figure out an action path. You may have many questions running across your mind and it may be difficult to plan a conversation with your doctor. If this is your case, the following list of questions will come in handy. Print a copy of these questions, have them with you and write down the doctors answers. This way, you will be able to better structure your thoughts and plan for the future.
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Getting Ready For Surgery
You and your care team will work together to get ready for your surgery. Help us keep you safe during your surgery by telling us if any of the following statements apply to you, even if youre not sure.
- I take a blood thinner, such as:
About Drinking Alcohol
The amount of alcohol you drink can affect you during and after your surgery. Its important to talk with your healthcare providers about how much alcohol you drink. This will help us plan your care.
- If you stop drinking alcohol suddenly, it can cause seizures, delirium, and death. If we know youre at risk for these problems, we can prescribe medications to help keep them from happening.
- If you drink alcohol regularly, you may be at risk for other problems during and after your surgery. These include bleeding, infections, heart problems, and a longer hospital stay.
Here are things you can do before your surgery to keep from having problems:
- Be honest with your healthcare providers about how much alcohol you drink.
- Try to stop drinking alcohol once your surgery is planned. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you:
- Get a headache.
- For information about being a health care agent, read How to Be a Health Care Agent.
- If you have more questions about filling out a Health Care Proxy form, talk with your healthcare provider.
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Male Sexual and Reproductive Medicine Program
Psa Levels After Treatment
A continuous rise in your PSA level can be the first sign that your cancer has come back. This should be picked up by your regular PSA tests.
The exact change in PSA level that suggests your cancer has come back will depend on which treatment you had. Speak to your doctor or nurse about your own situation.
Your PSA level should drop so low that its not possible to detect it at six to eight weeks after surgery. This is because the prostate, which produces PSA, has been removed. A rise in your PSA level may suggest that you still have some prostate cancer cells.
After radiotherapy or brachytherapy, your PSA should drop to its lowest level after 18 months to two years. Your PSA level wont fall to zero as your healthy prostate cells will continue to produce some PSA.
Your PSA level may actually rise after radiotherapy treatment, and then fall again. This is called PSA bounce. It could happen up to three years after treatment. It is normal, and doesnt mean that the cancer has come back.
If your PSA level rises by 2 ng/ml or more above its lowest level, or if it rises for three PSA tests in a row within six months, this could be a sign that your cancer has come back. Your doctor will continue to check your PSA level and will talk to you about further tests and treatment options.
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Prostate Cancer Screening: Questions For The Doctor
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men in the United States. Its more common in older men than younger men.
Depending on your age and other factors, your doctor may recommend getting screened for prostate cancer.
If youre age 55 to 69:
- The decision to get screened is a personal choice that you can make after talking with your doctor
- You might decide that youre okay with the risks of getting screened, or you might decide the risks arent worth it
- Together, you and your doctor can decide whats right for you
If youre age 70 or older:
- Prostate screening isnt recommended because the risks outweigh the benefits for most men
- This is true even if youre at a higher risk for prostate cancer
- If you have questions about prostate cancer, talk to your doctor
Many men have questions about prostate cancer screening. The information below can help you start a conversation with your doctor or nurse about the risks and benefits of screening.
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor When You Have Finished Treatment
When you have finished your cancer treatment, you will talk with your doctor about next steps and follow-up care. You may want to ask your doctor some of the following questions:
- How long will it take for me to get better and feel more like myself?
- What kind of care should I expect after my treatment?
- What long-term health issues can I expect as a result of my cancer and its treatment?
- What is the chance that my cancer will return?
- What symptoms should I tell you about?
- Who do I call if I develop these symptoms?
- What can I do to be as healthy as possible?
- Which doctor should I see for my follow-up care? How often?
- What tests do I need after treatment is over? How often will I have the tests?
- What records do I need to keep about my treatment?
- Is there a counselor I can talk to or an online or in-person support group you can suggest?
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How Long Will My Follow
You will have follow-up appointments for some time after your treatment. Exactly how long will depend on your cancer, any side effects of treatment and the services in your area. You will usually have appointments for several years.
After your follow-up appointments finish, you may continue to have PSA tests. Speak to your GP if you have any problems or concerns they can refer you back to the hospital. Make sure you remind them about your prostate cancer, especially if its been a while since you had treatment or a PSA test.
What Is Active Surveillance
When you receive a prostate cancer diagnosis, your natural inclination may be to remove the cancer immediately. But not all prostate cancers are aggressive, and many do not spread at the same rate. For some patients, the recommended treatment may be to keep a close eye on the disease, through a strategy known as active surveillance. Learn how TV weatherman Al Roker was treated for prostate cancer.Active surveillance may be recommended for patients with:
- A small tumor that is confined to the prostate
- A slow-growing type of prostate cancer
- A cancer that is at low risk of growing locally or spreading
Active surveillance is not the recommended treatment for every patient with localized prostate cancer. A number of men, given the possibility that the cancer could become more aggressive, prefer to eliminate even the smallest tumor and accept the risk of side effects from treatment. Its a personal decision, so its important to understand your options and identify questions or concerns you have.
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What Can I Expect To Feel Like After Surgery
Most people feel very well after the first two weeks, Dr. Baughman says. Most men can go back to normal activities within four to six weeks after surgery. A prostatectomy can have some side effects such as problems urinating, and problems getting an erection. These can take several weeks to months to resolve, and sometimes the side effects do not completely go away, although there are treatments to help. During the first few months after surgery, you probably will not be able to have a spontaneous erection and will need to use medication or other treatments.
Should I Consider Surgery
Candidates for surgery to treat prostate cancer have one or more of the following characteristics:
- Overall good health
- No spread of cancer to bone
- Tumor confined to the prostate gland
- Under the age of 70
- Expected to live another 10 years or more
Most surgeries to treat prostate cancer are radical prostatectomies, removing the entire prostate gland. Using a robotic surgery system offers a minimally invasive alternative to open surgery. Robotic surgery requires only a few tiny incisions and is designed to offers surgeons better vision, control and precision. Patients often recover sooner after robotic surgery.
Some advantages of prostate cancer surgery include:
- Patients with localized cancer may need no further treatment.
- Simultaneous biopsy allows for more accurate staging.
- Patients may have a lower risk of urinary urgency and frequency than with radiation treatments.
Some disadvantages of surgery for prostate cancer include:
- Prostate cancer surgery requires general anesthesia.
- Surgery likely will require an overnight stay at the hospital.
- A catheter may be required for required for one or two weeks.
- Side effects may include changes in sexual function.
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The Morning Of Your Prostate Surgery
Instructions for Drinking Before Your Surgery
You can drink a total of 12 ounces of water between midnight and 2 hours before your scheduled arrival time. Do not drink anything else.Do not drink anything starting 2 hours before your scheduled arrival time. This includes water.
Take Your Medications As Instructed
A member of your care team will tell you which medications to take the morning of your surgery. Take only those medications with a sip of water. Depending on what medications you take, this may be all, some, or none of your usual morning medications.
Shower With a 4% CHG Solution Antiseptic Skin Cleanser
Shower with a 4% CHG solution antiseptic skin cleanser before you leave for the hospital. Use it the same way you did the night before.
Do not put on any lotion, cream, deodorant, makeup, powder, perfume, or cologne after your shower.
Things To Remember
- Wear something comfortable and loose-fitting.
- If you wear contact lenses, wear your glasses instead. Wearing contact lenses during surgery can damage your eyes.
- Dont wear any metal objects. Remove all jewelry, including body piercings. The equipment used during your surgery can cause burns if it touches metal.
- Dont put on any lotion, cream, deodorant, makeup, powder, perfume, or cologne.
- Leave valuable items at home.
What To Bring
Once Youre in the Hospital
When its time to change for surgery, youll get a hospital gown, robe, and nonskid socks to wear.
Meet With a Nurse
Meet With an Anesthesiologist
Should I Get Radiation Therapy
The decision to have radiation therapy shouldnt be taken lightly, especially if you have other health conditions. Specifically, if you have connective tissue disease or IBD, radiation therapy can inflame these conditions. Youll want to weigh the risks and the benefits with your doctor in this case. Other factors to consider are your age, cancer stage, and other therapies you may be on. And then there is the treatment itself. Radiation has its limits. In many cases, once you have radiation, you cant have radiation again, Dr. Kahn says. If you have surgery to remove the prostate, then radiation can be your backup plan.
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What Are The Possible Side
Why is this question important?
Each treatment conveys a series of side-effects. You need to be thoroughly informed about the short and long term effects associated with the recommended treatment. Incontinence and impotence are ones of the most common and bothersome side effects men usually experience after prostate cancer removal. Ask your doctor about the chances you have to encounter these problems. Also, get informed about other urinary and rectal problems that may happen after treatment.