Living with advanced prostate cancer

Contents

Coping emotionally

Living with advanced prostate cancer can be hard to deal with emotionally as well as physically. Symptoms and treatments can be draining and make you feel unwell. And some treatments, including hormone therapy, can make you feel more emotional and cause low moods. 

You may feel a wide range of emotions. Your emotions could change very quickly - you might have good days and bad days. All these are very normal ways to feel. But if you are feeling very down or worried, do speak to your GP or nurse - there are things that can help. 

There is no 'right way' to deal with your feelings. Give yourself time. Don't put yourself under pressure to be positive if that is not how you feel. 

Some men want to find their own way to cope and don't want any outside help. But there is support available if you need it. 

Back to contents 

Relationships

Having cancer can often bring you closer to your family or friends. But the pressure of advanced cancer can also put a strain on relationships. 

The cancer and your treatment might mean that your partner or family need to do more for you, such as running the home or caring for you. These changing roles can be difficult for you all. 

Talking to those close to you can help everyone deal with tensions. But sometimes talking is not that easy. If you'd like help with problems in a relationship, your nurse or GP can put you in touch with a counsellor and your local hospice may have a family support team. You could also try contacting organisations such as Relate or the College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists

Download our booklet, Advanced prostate cancer: Managing symptoms and getting support.  

Are you supporting someone with prostate cancer?

If someone close to you has advanced prostate cancer you might be able to offer him a great deal of support, but it is likely that you will need help and support as well. 

Back to contents  

If you live alone

Dealing with advanced prostate cancer can be hard at times, particularly if you live on your own. Don't be afraid to ask for support if you need it. 

If you are finding it hard, speak to your GP or nurse. If you have friends or neighbours nearby, they may be able to help, both practically and emotionally. Joining a local support group can also be a good way of meeting people with similar experiences. 

Back to contents  

Daily life with advanced prostate cancer

Advanced prostate cancer can affect your ability to work or carry out everyday tasks. Whatever your situation, there is advice and support available. 

Diet and physical activity

A healthy diet and being physically active might help you feel more in control of your health. A healthy lifestyle can also help with some of the side effects of treatment. 

Work and money

The symptoms of advanced prostate cancer and the side effects of treatments can make it more difficult for you to work. You might decide to reduce your working hours, or stop working altogether. If your partner is caring for you, they might not be able to work as much. Read more about work and prostate cancer

A lot of men with cancer and their partners worry about how they will cope financially. It is a good idea to get some advice about your individual circumstances. Read more about money issues

At home

You might find everyday tasks more difficult. If you need extra help, speak to your GP or get in touch with your local social services department for advice. There is support available to help you at home. 

Respite care

If your cancer means that you need ongoing care from your partner or family, respite care allows them to have a break. A professional will take over your care for a short time. There are different types of respite care:

  • a sitting service, where someone stays with you for a few hours
  • a short stay in a residential home to give you a change of scenery and help you rest
  • a carer who comes in for a few days to allow your family member to take a short break away. 

Speak to your GP, nurse or local social services about what respite care is available for you. 

Download our booklet, Advanced prostate cancer: Managing symptoms and getting support

Transport and travel

There are various schemes available to help with transport

If you drive you do not need to tell the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) - or the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) if you live in Northern Ireland - that you have prostate cancer. However, you should tell them if:

  • your medication causes side effects likely to affect safe driving
  • your doctor is concerned about your fitness to drive
  • you develop any problems with the brain or nervous system, or
  • you can only drive vehicles with special adaptations or certain types of vehicle. 

If you are not sure whether any of these apply to you, speak to your doctor. You can find out more from GOV.UK. You should also tell your insurance company about your prostate cancer to make sure that you are properly covered. 

Holidays can be a great way to relax. Having advanced prostate cancer should not stop you going away, but there are things you might want to consider

Back to contents  

Thinking about the future 

It's natural to find it difficult and upsetting to think about the future. But you might find that making plans helps you feel more prepared, and reassured about the future for your family.  Although it might be very hard, it is a good idea to talk to those close to you about your wishes so that they can help make sure they are carried out. 

You can find out more from Dying Matters. Macmillan Cancer Support and Marie Curie Cancer Care also provide information about what will happen in the last few weeks and days of life. 

Thinking about your future care

Think about what care you would like to receive in the future. This is called advance care planning. It can include some of the following:

  • your wishes and preferences about the type of care you want
  • whether you would refuse treatment in specific circumstances
  • who you would like to be asked for a decision about your care, if you are unable to make it yourself
  • where you would like to be cared for - for example, at home, in a hospice or hospital
  • where you would like to die. 

You don't have to make any decisions if you don't want to. But it can help to think about these things early on as it helps your doctor or nurse plan your care according to your wishes. You can also talk to your family about what you want. If you change your mind at any time then you can change your plans or cancel them. 

It might not always be possible for doctors to follow your wishes, but they should always take them into consideration. 

Download our booklet, Advanced prostate cancer: Managing symptoms and getting support

Age UK, Marie Curie Cancer Care and NHS Choices have more detailed information about making decisions about your future care.

Making a power of attorney

A lasting power of attorney is a legal document. It lets you appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to - for example, if you are unconscious. You can appoint one or more people to make decisions about your care and welfare, and/or your finances and property. In the legal paperwork, they are called an attorney. They should be someone you trust, like a family member or friend. 

Age UK provide advice and information on making a lasting power of attorney. You can find more information and the forms you need to fill in from the GOV.UK website.

Making a will

By making a will you can make sure that your property and possessions are passed on according to your wishes. If you die without making a will, the state decides who inherits your property. You don't need a solicitor to make a will, but using one will make sure that the correct legal processes are followed and your will is valid. 

Age UK and Macmillan Cancer Support have more information about making a will. 

Making a funeral plan

Some people want to be involved in decisions about their own funeral, such as whether they will be buried or cremated, or what music and readings to have. Some people take comfort in making these plans. But others prefer not to think about this. 

If you do want to think about your funeral, you could discuss your wishes with your family, or write them down for them. Some people include instructions for their funeral in their will. You can get more information about planning a funeral from Age UK and GOV.UK

Download our booklet, Advanced prostate cancer: Managing symptoms and getting support.

Back to contents