This booklet is for men who have been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. It contains information to help you understand your diagnosis and your options for treatment and care. It may also be helpful for your family and friends to read this booklet.

There are different ways that men may find out that they have advanced prostate cancer. They may have gone to see their doctor about prostate cancer because they were having symptoms or there’s a family history of prostate cancer. For others, they may have lived with prostate cancer for a while, and even after receiving treatment, the cancer has progressed and spread to other parts of the body.

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.

‘I feel you should be told the works, not beat around the bush and be given very little information, ... I need to know the facts.’

When you have been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, it can make you feel alone. Taking time to learn as much as possible about your cancer and your options will help you feel more informed and help you make the important decisions about your treatment and support you may need.

Men with advanced prostate cancer can live long, active and full lives with appropriate treatment. But the cancer will change your life and the life of those who love you. To adjust to these changes, you may need to find out about:

  • where to get information about advanced prostate cancer and its treatments
  • the treating health professionals likely to be involved in your care
  • what and how to get the support you need
  • how to talk to your partner, family and friends
  • where to meet others with advanced prostate cancer.

Other booklets in this series and the organisations and services listed at the end of this booklet can provide further assistance with these issues.

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.

Your cancer journey

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.

For some men, the impact of diagnosis may be minimal or quickly resolved. For others, this impact can be more difficult, requiring further support and help. 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 that you can then use as a guide to further discussions with your doctor and healthcare team about your situation. Being informed enables you to participate in decisions about your care and leads to improved experiences and better care.