What Happens If You Are Diagnosed With Prostate Cancer?

Medically Reviewed on 5/6/2021

A diagnosis with prostate cancer does not mean that a person's life has come to a full stop.
A diagnosis with prostate cancer does not mean that a person’s life has come to a full stop.

A diagnosis with prostate cancer does not mean that a person’s life has come to a full stop. Many people with prostate cancer, if diagnosed early, go on to live for many years. If the disease is diagnosed in very early stages, the doctor may only keep the patient under surveillance and treat as required. However, the patient must make some changes in their life during and after the treatment.

Some of the adjustments include

Changes in sex life: If a patient had surgery to remove their prostate gland, they may have erectile dysfunction. This may be a symptom of cancer and a result of the treatment. Some of the risks after an operation or a radiation therapy are

  • Trouble getting erections
  • Having orgasms

Some of the alternative options to bladder removal surgery include

  • Nerve-sparing surgery
  • More precise radiation therapy where a radioactive seed is placed inside the prostate

Most problems may go away on their own once the body heals completely. Some of the methods to improve sex life post-surgery include

Bladder control: Most men with prostate cancer may have trouble with their bladders. Some of the side effects include

  • Feel the urge to use the bathroom all the time
  • Unable to pass urine at will
  • Leak in between trips to the toilet
  • Having a weak stream of urine

These side effects may resolve soon after treatment, or they might linger for a while. These problems can be controlled effectively by the following methods.

  • Try Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that support the bladder
  • Take the prescribed medications
  • Wear adult diapers or keep pads in underwear to catch leaks
  • Use condom catheters that go over the penis to trap the urine
  • Undergo surgery depending on the cause of the problem
  • Avoid bladder irritants such as caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods or artificial sweeteners

Work on accepting things: Some things might change after having prostate cancer. It is important that the patient adjusts to those things to adjust to their life with prostate cancer. These include

  • Body image: They may have to adjust to their new look or deal with changes in their self-esteem.
  • Identity: Some men feel that their “masculine” identity has altered as a result of cancer.
  • New family roles: As they go through treatment and recovery, they may have restrictions in their daily routine, which they should accept rather than getting depressed.

They can work on all these issues by talking to a professional, people close to them or other survivors.

How is prostate cancer treated?

The treatment plan for prostate cancer depends on the following factors.

  • The stage and grade of cancer
  • Age and health
  • Risk category
  • Patient values and preferences
  • Life expectancy

Treatment choices for prostate cancer involve

  • Surveillance: If prostate cancer is non-aggressive, the physician might recommend surveillance. This means that the physician will delay treatment but conduct regular checkups or monitor symptoms to detect any progression.
    • Active surveillance: This involves monitoring cancer closely by carrying out prostate-specific examination and blood tests.
    • Watchful waiting: This relies mainly on symptom progression and intensity in men.
  • Localized therapy: The physician might recommend the following therapies when the cancer cells have not spread outside the prostate gland.
    • Prostatectomy (removal of the prostate gland)
    • Radiation therapy
    • Cryotherapy (use of cold temperatures to freeze and kill the cancerous cells)
    • Focal therapy
  • Drug therapy: The physician recommends the following drug therapies that spread throughout the body to destroy the cancer cells.
    • Hormonal therapy
    • Chemotherapy
    • Immunotherapy


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Medically Reviewed on 5/6/2021