Managing Your Symptoms

Symptoms caused by prostate cancer can be difficult to deal with—both physically and emotionally. But many of these side effects can be managed with help from your doctor. If you are experiencing symptoms, it’s important to write down and tell your doctor how you’re feeling. By providing your doctor with detailed information, you can help him or her recommend the best symptom management plan for you.

Possible symptoms caused by prostate cancer and its treatment may include:

Keep in mind that these are just a few of the most common symptoms men with prostate cancer may experience. Also, it’s important to remember that the tips in this section should not replace the advice of your healthcare team.

  • Fatigue

    Managing Fatigue

    What is fatigue? A continuous feeling of physical, emotional, or mental tiredness that leaves you feeling exhausted. Fatigue can affect your ability to perform day-to-day activities and hobbies.

    What are possible causes? Fatigue in cancer patients can have more than one cause. But one of the main causes is the cancer itself. Other causes may include pain, stress, loss of appetite or not getting enough calories or nutrients, dehydration (loss of too much water), not sleeping well, depression or anxiety, and weight loss.

    Ways to manage fatigue:

    • Try to stay active by doing light exercises. Go for a walk—anything that gets you moving

    • Try relaxation techniques, including yoga

    • To give you an extra boost, try to take short naps during the day

    • Eat healthy foods (including greens and veggies) and drink fluids, including water

    • Talk with your doctor about incorporating vitamins or supplements, which may help you feel more energized

    • Keep track of how severe your fatigue is—when it started, how long it lasts, and any changes in how you’re feeling. Share these details with your doctor

    Talk with your doctor about different ways to manage fatigue. It’s also important to always talk with your doctor before engaging in any physical activity.

    Download and print the Seven Principles of Managing Advanced Prostate Cancer to learn more about managing your symptoms and preparing for the future.

  • Frequent Urination

    Managing Incontinence

    What is incontinence? Loss of bladder control.

    What are possible causes? The muscles that help keep urine in the bladder are weak or damaged, or the nerves that help that muscle work have been damaged.

    Ways to manage incontinence:

    • Avoid alcoholic beverages, citrus juices, and drinks that are high in caffeine. These types of fluids can irritate the bladder and cause more frequent urination

    • Drink plenty of water and regularly empty your bladder. Tell your doctor if you experience problems with urination

    • There are some medications that can help relieve symptoms and improve the muscles that control urination. Ask your doctor about the best way to treat your incontinence

    • Surgical procedures may help some men

    • Try Kegel exercises

      • Kegel exercises may help strengthen muscles called “pelvic floor muscles,” which support the bladder and bowel. A Kegel exercise is like pretending you have to urinate and then holding it

        • Make sure your bladder is empty, then sit or lie down

        • Tighten your pelvic floor muscles (these are the muscles that control urination)

        • Hold tight and count to 8

        • Relax the muscles and count to 10, repeat

      • Talk with your doctor about the best way to do Kegel exercises and if they are right for you

    Talk with your doctor about different ways to manage incontinence.

    Download and print the Seven Principles of Managing Advanced Prostate Cancer to learn more about managing your symptoms and preparing for the future.

  • Erectile Dysfunction

    Managing Erectile Dysfunction

    What is erectile dysfunction (ED)? The inability to get or maintain an erection.

    What are possible causes? ED can occur if the cancer is close to the nerves that control erections.

    Ways to manage ED:

    • Prescription medications are available that can help you get and maintain an erection—talk with your doctor to learn more

    • A penile implant, which is a device that is surgically placed inside the penis, can help you get an erection

    • A vacuum constriction device, which is a small pump that is placed over the penis, can help increase blood flow

    Maintaining an intimate relationship:

    • Have open and honest conversations with your spouse or partner and talk about all the ways you can be intimate together

    • Meet with a sexual health specialist. He or she may be able to help you find other ways to experience intimacy with your spouse or partner

    Talk with your doctor about the different ways to manage ED.

    Download and print the Seven Principles of Managing Advanced Prostate Cancer to learn more about managing your symptoms and preparing for the future.

  • Bone Pain

    Managing Bone Pain

    What is bone pain? The weakening of your bones can cause pain, which can feel like a dull aching or stabbing. The pain may be constant or it may come and go.

    What are possible causes? When prostate cancer spreads to the bone it can interfere with the bone’s health and strength, often causing bone pain.

    Ways to manage bone pain:

    • Drugs called bisphosphonates, which are commonly used to treat bone pain

    • External beam radiation therapy

    • Prescription pain medications

    Talk with your doctor about the different ways to manage bone pain.

    Download and print the Seven Principles of Managing Advanced Prostate Cancer to learn more about managing your symptoms and preparing for the future.