Prostate Cancer

How prostate cancer affects you

There is no easy way to tell someone they have cancer. Some men recalled that the news was broken kindly and gently, while others perceived that they had been given the diagnosis rather brusquely, and one man felt shattered when he received the diagnosis over the telephone. Despite efforts by some consultants to break the news gently, most of the men said that they reacted with varying degrees of shock and a sense of disbelief.   
Some men had known they had a raised PSA level for some time, but nothing had prepared them for the eventual diagnosis. One man described his sense of isolation, fearing others would not understand his feelings and another man said that he reacted to the news of his cancer by going into a frenzy of activity, searching for the best treatment, and it was only later he felt somewhat depressed. Some men were very worried about their wives and families, particularly concerned about the financial implications of the diagnosis.
One man recalled that when he was given the diagnosis he was unbearable to live with for a couple of weeks because he could not accept that he had cancer. However, some men said that when they were first diagnosed with cancer they were optimistic about the chance of being cured. A definite diagnosis was better than endless uncertainty. One man, who had had a raised PSA value for a number of years, said that when he finally received the diagnosis he calmly assessed the situation, and another said that his faith helped him face up to the idea of death.
Side effects of various treatments also affected men’s lives. Some men said that treatment had made them feel very tired (see Lack of Energy).

Other men said that hormone treatment had affected their sense of masculinity. Most men who had treatment without hormones reported limited sexual function, but they did not talk about this affecting their sense of masculinity. In contrast, the men who had long-term hormone treatment reported that they had lost their interest in sex and felt changed, not only physically but also psychologically- the treatment had affected their sense of masculinity (see Impotence).

Last reviewed July 2017.
Last updated January 2010


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