What are other ways of managing side effects?

Some side effects from the treatment you are taking for advanced prostate cancer can be difficult but there are ways of managing them so their effects are reduced. Finding out as much as possible about potential side effects before you start treatment will also help you cope better. 

The following are further ways that you can manage side effects from treatments.

Sharing how you feel with someone you trust

Sharing your fears, concerns and stress with your partner or someone you trust (e.g. a family member or close friend) can help you manage treatment side effects. Letting them know how you feel allows them to help you to take care of your health, feelings and wellbeing. Some things to keep in mind: 

  • choose a good listener 
  • choose a good time to share how you feel 
  • be truthful about your feelings.

Talking to a health professional

Support groups

‘There’s all the latest information at the support group … those that have been through the system over a period of time, because there’s quite a number of us that go there, we’ve all had different procedures done.’

Sometimes being able to talk with other people who have been through similar experiences with side effects can be useful. A way of meeting others who have similar experiences is at a support group. Hearing other men talk about a range of topics can help you deal with the changes you are feeling – for example, how their self-esteem and body image may have changed, and how they have coped with certain side effects. Often you can feel like you are the only one feeling this way, so hearing others talking about the same issues may help you feel less isolated or alone. For the closest support group to you visit www.pcfa.org.au.

Complementary therapies

Some men with prostate cancer may use complementary therapies along with the conventional prostate cancer treatments to help them manage symptoms or side effects from treatments, and to improve their quality of life. If you are thinking about using complementary therapies, it is important that you use safe and proven therapies and not therapies that are unproven, possibly harmful and promoted as alternatives or substitutes for conventional medicine (talk with members of your healthcare team about this). Some complementary therapies have shown to be useful to relieve physical and emotional symptoms from cancer treatments. These include nutrition-related therapies such as vitamins, minerals, diet modifications, and other therapies such as meditation, yoga, acupuncture and massage. It is important that you speak with your healthcare team if you are thinking of using complementary therapies because they may be able to advise which ones could be suitable for you, and possible effects some complementary therapies and your mainstream treatment may have on each other.

Listed below are some questions you may want to ask members of your healthcare team about complementary therapies: 

  • What are the useful complementary therapies for me? 
  • How will they help me? 
  • What is the evidence to show they work? 
  • Do they have side effects? What are they? 
  • Will they interfere with the conventional prostate cancer treatment I am having or want to have? 
  • What are the financial costs of the complementary therapies being suggested?