‘I don’t think in these sorts of circumstances you can have too much information. You get a big shopping bag full of it and then you probably fine tune it to your own particular needs but I think in the early days you need as much information as you possibly can.’
This booklet is for men who have been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. It contains information to help you understand and manage feelings you may have after being diagnosed with, and treated for, advanced prostate cancer. It may also be helpful for your family and friends.
In Australia, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men. It is estimated that in 2014, about 21,000 Australian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, accounting for approximately 30% of all new cancers in men.
Being diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer can make you feel alone. But you’re not alone. Looking after yourself and those around you is an important part of adjusting to a diagnosis of advanced prostate cancer. Being active and developing your interests can bring lots of unexpected positives and improve your experience through this time.
Your cancer journey
After being diagnosed with prostate cancer, it’s common for you to see a number of health professionals with different expertise who work together as a team, called a multidisciplinary team (also known as a healthcare team). Best practice treatment and supportive care for people with cancer involves a team of different health professionals. Each team member brings different skills that are important in managing care and in making decisions around your individual needs. The team includes health professionals who are involved in diagnosing your cancer, treating your cancer, managing symptoms and side effects, assisting you with your feelings or concerns during your cancer journey.
The cancer journey is your personal experience of cancer. It’s not the same for everybody, even with the same type of cancer. Depending on your stage of prostate cancer and other underlying conditions, your experience may be quite different.
As the diagram Your cancer journey shows, it can be useful to think of the journey in stages that may include detection, diagnosis, treatment, follow-up care and survivorship. For some, it may include end of life care. Take each stage as it comes so you can break down what feels like an overwhelming situation into smaller, more manageable steps.
Many people want to take an active part in making decisions about their care. Gaining information about prostate cancer and its treatment will help you make decisions. The aim of this booklet is to provide you with information and ways of managing issues you may experience during your prostate cancer journey so you’re able to maintain a positive wellbeing and good quality of life. Being informed enables you to participate in decisions about your care and leads to improved experiences and better care.