Even though treatment for prostate cancer can improve your health, it can also cause problems that could reduce your quality of life. Each treatment has side effects, and some of these can make you feel unwell or interfere with your life on a practical level. It will help if you know what to expect before you start each treatment. For more information, please see another booklet in this series: Side Effects.
You might need to take time off work to travel to treatment centres or to recover from treatment. You might not be able to do physically demanding work for some time after some treatments. Some side effects from treatment can affect your work performance, which means you might need to take frequent or longer breaks. If you are a permanent employee, your employer should have a clear leave entitlement policy. It might be useful for you to check what leave entitlements you have and to use them to manage time needed for treatment or recovery. If you are self-employed or casual, you will need to arrange work demands so they fit with time needed for treatment or recovery. Organising your work life will help you to manage the changes caused by treatment. This can often be difficult to do and, in some cases, you may qualify for government financial assistance.
In Australia, the Government subsidises the cost of listed prescription medication through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme www.pbs.gov.au/info/about-the-pbs. Not everything relating to your cancer treatment is covered by the scheme so check with your doctor or a member of your healthcare team when they prescribe a medication or refer you to a service. If you have private health insurance, check with your provider as to what your policy will cover so that you are prepared for any possible financial outlays.
It might be a good idea to ask to be referred to a social worker or welfare worker attached to a hospital or a health service. They will be able to advise you about the types of government financial benefits you can get. There might be other life changes and issues that are causing concerns for you. Please see another booklet in this series: Wellbeing.