If you’ve received a recent prostate cancer diagnosis, it’s normal to feel numb, grief-stricken, shocked or angry as you process the reality that cancer is now part of your story. Though all these reactions are normal, they can slowly drain your emotional and mental energy if you allow them to consume you. To understand clinical recommendations and make informed choices about prostate cancer treatment, you first need to deal constructively with the thoughts and feelings that threaten to overwhelm you.
What Does Constructive Coping Look Like?
Everyone copes in his own way, and it takes time and practice to recalibrate your thoughts and find your equilibrium after a cancer diagnosis. As you work through this process, try incorporating these coping methods:
- Be informed & proactive. Prostate cancer can send you reeling. For many men, reestablishing a healthy sense of control is the first step to making peace with a diagnosis. Begin by asking questions, drawing from clinical resources and taking time to research what your results mean—and what options you have. Depending on your family history, PSA, Gleason score and 4Kscore results, your cancer care team can help you develop a treatment strategy tailored to you. Possible treatments may include watchful surveillance, surgery or radiation therapy.
- Draw strength from community. Though you may want to avoid people or withdraw into yourself after a prostate cancer diagnosis, it is painful to handle the journey on your own. If you are not comfortable with a traditional support group format, consider a health and wellness Meetup group. Your gym or local hospital may also host community wellness programs that blend camaraderie, fitness and education. With over 170 worldwide locations, the Cancer Support Community offers workshops, online forums and recreational programs where prostate cancer survivors receive social and emotional support throughout all stages of their disease.
- Create a holistic self-care plan. It’s easy to focus on the physical part of prostate cancer treatment, but remember that emotional and spiritual well-being also factor into an effective self-care strategy. Pursue balance in the form of healthy eating, positive sleep habits, recommended exercise, and meditation or relaxation techniques. While there is no single right way to eat, exercise or feel better, working with a multi-disciplinary team of dietitians, social workers, spiritual advisors and physical therapists can help you make the best decisions.
- Maintain normalcy. When your world seems upside down, there’s something to be said for routine. Taking life one day (or moment) at a time, do your best to pursue your career, engage in hobbies, and enjoy time with family and friends—with the understanding that you may need to modify from time to time. Continually remind yourself that cancer doesn’t define you, even when it seems ever-present.
Stay Informed With 4Kscore
This year alone, the American Cancer Society reports that more than 160,000 American men will deal with a prostate cancer diagnosis  and weather its impact on their lives, families and careers. Subscribe to the 4Kscore blog to learn more about advances in the world of prostate cancer testing.
- American Cancer Society. Key Statistics for Prostate Cancer. (Access Sept. 15, 2017) https://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/about/key-statistics.html