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Patient tips Three ways I managed prostate cancer side effects

Three ways I managed prostate cancer side effects

Army veteran Don W. was diagnosed with stage 2B prostate cancer at 53 years old—just a month after losing his father to the disease. He underwent robotic surgery at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) to remove his prostate, then underwent radiation treatment to remove residue. Here, he shares three ways he managed prostate cancer side effects and improved his quality of life.

  1. Be honest about ED concerns. Yes, erectile dysfunction is common in men after treatment for prostate cancer. Before and after treatment, a number of tactics helped me feel connected to my partner and my own body. These included taking prescribed medications to maintain blood flow in the penis and talking about the changes and how I felt about being intimate with my partner. It’s OK if you aren’t ready to be intimate right away. Communicate openly and honestly with your partner and care team.
  2. Prepare for possible incontinence. I did pelvic floor and Kegel exercises before and after surgery and after radiation treatment. I also drank plenty of water and emptied my bladder often (including before bedtime). And I talked to my care team about pads, medication options and clamps.
  3. Have a plan of attack for hot flashes. I found avoiding certain foods and drinks (alcohol, spicy food and caffeine) and maintaining a healthy weight helped keep my hot flashes at bay. I also made a point to dress in light clothes or easy-to-remove layers to help keep me cool when a hot flash emerged. At night, I meditated to keep my body relaxed, took cold showers and bought a bedside fan.
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