Coping & Emotions

Prostate cancer and the risk of depression /anxiety

Just like any other cancer diagnosis, prostate cancer diagnosis triggers the onset of many emotions. You may feel depressed, anxious, angry, uncertain, powerless, confused and scared. Research has shown that diagnosis of cancer makes the men affected by the disease feel as if they have lost control. All of these symptoms are common and you have the right to express mixed emotions.

You may feel depressed and anxious not knowing what the future holds and as a result sometimes feel unable to make decisions. You may feel angry and ask "why is this happening to me", feel frightened for your life, (confronting your own mortality), and wonder whether you could have done anything different in your life to prevent what is happening to you and your body.

There is a lot of ongoing research that is looking at the relationship between diet, life style and the prevalence of prostate cancer. It is possible that our genetic makeup, and whether we maintain a healthy life style or not, may be some of the risk factors for prostate cancer. However, it is not known what causes prostate cancer and we can only focus on how to cope the best we can should this happen to us.

Coping well and asking for support is very important after the diagnosis as you will need to decide which treatment is best for you. Being well informed about your choices and perhaps seeking a second opinion may help you to make the best decisions. Furthermore, research has shown that patients that choose to make decisions in consultation with their partners, make better decisions as a couple and cope better in the long term, whereas for some patients early counselling works best.

Different people deal in different ways with the cancer diagnosis. This often depends on personal circumstances and stage of the disease which ultimately determines the prognosis or the outlook. Whatever your circumstances, it is important to remember that you are not alone.

There are established prostate cancer support groups all around Australia Experience has shown that the support and advice you can receive from men that have been in the same position as you, are undergoing treatment or have overcome prostate cancer altogether, can become a powerful tool to defeat cancer.

Aim to join one of the support groups nearest you as soon as possible.

Download the publication Maintaining your Well-Being here

Other useful contacts;
beyondblue info line - 1300 22 4636
Mensline Australia - 1300 789 978
Lifeline - 13 11 14
Relationships Australia - 1300 364 277

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