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Information from Your Family Doctor
What to Expect in the Years After Prostate Cancer Treatment
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Am Fam Physician. 2016 May 1;93(9):online.
See related article on primary care of the prostate cancer survivor
How is prostate cancer treated?
Prostate cancer may be treated in many ways. Treatments include surgery, radiation therapy, and hormone therapy. After you have been treated for prostate cancer, there are several things you can do to stay healthy.
How should I follow up after treatment?
Follow up with your family physician or cancer specialist for regular prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests and digital rectal examinations.
Other cancers can sometimes develop after radiation treatment. Tell your doctor right away if you have any blood in your urine or stool.
Many people have urinary incontinence (loss of bladder control) after treatment for prostate cancer. Talk to your doctor about treatment options.
Osteoporosis (OSS-tee-o-puh-RO-sis), or low bone density, can occur after hormone therapy. Tell your doctor if you have ever had hormone therapy so that he or she can do a bone density scan. Also, tell your doctor about any bone density scans you had before your treatment so that he or she can compare the results.
Many people have sexual problems after treatment. Your doctor may be able to offer treatments to help with these problems.
How do I keep a healthy lifestyle?
You should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise per week. Also try to do the following:
Eat a healthy diet including a variety of fruits and vegetables
Make sure your diet includes about 1,200 mg of calcium per day and 600 IU of vitamin D per day
Do not use tobacco products
What can I expect emotionally?
You may feel depressed or anxious after prostate cancer treatment. Symptoms may include worrying, poor sleep, change in eating patterns, crying, or feeling sad. Talk about these symptoms with your doctor.
Partners of prostate cancer survivors often feel stress as well. Make sure to talk about these feelings with your partner.
Where can I get more information?
American Cancer Society
Long-term care guidelines for prostate cancer survivors
Living as a prostate cancer survivor
Living with prostate cancer
Lifestyle changes after treatment for prostate cancer
This handout is provided to you by your family doctor and the American Academy of Family Physicians. Other health-related information is available from the AAFP online at http://familydoctor.org.
This information provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. Talk to your family doctor to find out if this information applies to you and to get more information on this subject.
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