Prostate cancer and its treatment can affect your body and
physical health. Lots of treatments for prostate cancer cause
short-term or long-term side effects. These can often be managed or
There are lots of ways to get support for physical side effects
- let your doctor and nurse know. If they can't help then they can
refer you to other services, even if it's been a while since you
had treatment for prostate cancer.
You can also call one of our Specialist Nurses on our
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Fatigue is a range of feelings from tiredness to exhaustion,
which makes it hard to carry out your daily activities. Men
describe feeling weak, lethargic, knackered or drained.
It can affect your energy levels, motivation, ability to
concentrate, emotions and sex drive. Many men find it difficult to
cope with fatigue - and it's not always relieved by rest
Fatigue could be caused by any prostate cancer treatment. It might
improve after your treatment has finished but some men find it
lasts longer. Hormone therapy in particular can cause extreme
tiredness. And men who have advanced prostate cancer are also more
likely to have fatigue.
Where can I get help?
Let your doctor or nurse know how you feel and if you're getting
very tired. They can check what's causing it and look for
ways to help.
It could be your treatment that's causing the fatigue, but there
can also be other causes such as the cancer itself or other
If you have extreme tiredness as a result of prostate cancer and
treatments, our Get back
on track service could help you manage your fatigue so you can
do the things you want to do. It's a ten-week telephone service
delivered by our Specialist Nurses. Call our Specialist Nurses
on 0800 074 8383 to find out whether the service is likely to help
What else can help?
Sort out your daily routine, prioritise important tasks and make
time for rest.
Gentle physical activity such as walking or swimming can help to
reduce tiredness. Speak to your doctor before you make any changes
to how you exercise.
If you are struggling to eat enough and you've lost weight, this
could add to your tiredness. Ask your GP to refer you to a
dietitian for advice about your diet. Get more information and diet and physical
Lots of things can help with sleep problems, including
relaxation techniques and dealing with any worries that you are
keeping you awake. Your GP can give you advice on what could help
you sleep and they will sometimes prescribe a short course of
Get support if you are feeling
depressed or anxious, as this can be related to tiredness in
people with cancer.
Some research shows that some alternative therapies can help
people with cancer manage tiredness. These types of therapies
include: acupuncture, breathing control, muscle relaxation,
massage, yoga and different types of meditation.
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Radiotherapy for prostate cancer (external beam radiotherapy and
brachytherapy) can cause bowel problems for some men. Radiation can
cause the lining of the bowel to become inflamed (proctitis) which
then leads to symptoms such as loose and watery stools (diarrhoea),
pain in the stomach area (abdomen) or back passage. More rarely, it
can cause bleeding from the back passage.
Some men find that changes to their bowel habits last for a
short time. For others, the changes are permanent. Some men develop
bowel problems months or years after treatment.
What can help?
Let your GP, doctor or nurse know about any changes in your
bowel habits. They can give advice and support to help manage them.
There are also medicines available to help with symptoms and
Your local continence services can assess your bowel problems
and offer advice about treatments. Ask your GP to refer you.
If you have long term bowel problems, ask to be referred to a
bowel specialist (gastroenterologist). You may have a further test
to check for any damage to the bowel.
How can I manage bowel problems myself?
Living with bowel problems can be distressing, and for a lot of
men it's not an easy thing to talk about. But remember that doctors
and nurses often help men with these issues. They're used to
discussing the problem and finding ways to deal with it.
You may find it helpful to plan ahead and find out where toilets
are before you go out, and carry absorbent pads.
If you are having problems with diarrhoea, cutting down on fibre
in your diet for a short time may help. Low fibre foods include
white rice, pasta and bread, potatoes (without the skins),
cornmeal, eggs and lean white meat. Drink plenty, but avoid
alcohol, coffee and fizzy drinks.
about diet and physical activity.
Cancer Support and the Bladder and Bowel Foundation produce detailed
information about coping with bowel problems.
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