Remember, many tāne have been in your shoes. They’ve gone on to live long lives, with support from those that matter most. Although everyone’s exact journey is different, the key is to take it a day at a time and make yourself a priority.
on active surveillance?
For some tāne, active surveillance is the best option, but sometimes this decision comes with a bit of stress. Knowing that the cancer is there can be tough, and it might weigh heavily on your mind. Even if your PSA tests and biopsies show that the cancer is staying under control, you might get anxious about receiving your next result.
You might have
What if the cancer becomes more aggressive?
What are the risks of a more active treatment?
These are all valid, important and personal questions. Remember that you have people in your corner (like your doctor, care team, counsellors, whānau and friends) to help you work through these.
Counselling, support and
activities to reduce stress
On a day-to-day basis, there are several
things you can do to be more at ease.
Showing up to a doctor appointment is essential but it’s only one part of the visit. While you’re there, it’s important to tell your doctor or care team what’s really going on with you. They need your honest thoughts, to give you the best care and keep watch over your progress. Your honesty can help them suggest good coping strategies or even prescribe a useful medication.
Talk to your doctor, care team
or hauora provider
Talk to your nurse, doctor or someone else in your care team. They can help you understand your diagnosis, treatment and side effects, listen to your concerns, and put you in touch with other people who can help.
Some general practices have Health Improvement Practitioners. These health professionals can rapidly see anyone (of any age) who needs to make some changes in their lives to improve their wellbeing. Ask your doctor if this is available.
Seek out counselling
or wellbeing support
At a time when you have so much on your shoulders, someone who’ll listen without judgment is critical. Talking to someone kanohi ki te kanohi (face-to-face) is a really good option. There are different people who can help you deal with mental health issues, including hauora providers. You can also look for rongoā Māori healers.
Counsellors are trained on how to listen well and give you space to express yourself. They even help you find your own ways to deal with feelings and make your own decisions.
Many hospitals have counsellors or psychologists who specialise in helping people with cancer - ask your doctor or care team at the hospital if this is available or if they know of services in the community you can access at low or no cost to you. Your doctor may also be able to refer you to a counsellor, or you can seek out a private counsellor yourself.
Find out more information and search for counsellors in your area on the New Zealand Association of counsellors website.
You may also be able to access free psychology and counselling services in your local area through the Cancer Society. Some people find one session very useful, and others appreciate ongoing support.
Talking to other tāne with prostate cancer can be a helpful way to connect with people who understand what you’re going through. Speak to your doctor for recommendations on any good local groups, or check online for ones that interest you.
Visit the Prostate Cancer Foundation or the Cancer Society to find a cancer support group or network near you. You can also call 0800 226 237 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm) to connect with a peer supporter, often someone who has had a similar cancer experience to you.
Wairuatanga (spirituality) is a vital part of connecting and healing. Some tāne find that talking with a spiritual leader or counsellor can be useful during this time. It may also help to visit places that make you feel calm, at peace, and grounded like at a lake or somewhere out in nature. Taking time to listen to your creative energy, or express your cultural identity through art and waiata (song) can also heal the wairua (spirit).
Keep a journal
When you start to have negative or worrying thoughts, write them down. This will get them out of your head, so you can focus on positive thoughts instead. It may help to share your journal with a counsellor, so they can help you work through it.
Try meditation and yoga
Sitting in a quiet room can help you notice loud, negative thoughts. You might hear yourself thinking, “I’ll never get through this” or “I’m not really a man”. Meditating and thinking about your strengths and what makes you happy can turn these thoughts around. Yoga and taking gentle stretching breaks can loosen you up too.
Regular exercise and eating nutritious kai can boost your mood and give you energy. That positive energy can reduce your stress and put you at ease.
Reduce or cut down on
smoking, alcohol and caffeine
Smoking, alcohol and too much caffeine can be harmful. Cutting back or stopping these completely is recommended.
Share with your partner, whānau
Being open with people you trust can lighten the load on your shoulders. Kaua e whakamā — don’t be ashamed or afraid to talk through what’s bothering you. Your support system wants to help you get through it, they just need the opportunity to be there for you.
Some people’s family circumstances can create challenges to getting the tautoko (support) they need during these times. If this is the case for you, please talk to your care team or hauora provider who will help you on your journey.
One of the best ways to help your whānau or yourself is by keeping in contact. Strong whanaungatanga and relationships help you:
know that you’re valued and loved
get well faster
stay well for longer
Your relationships are very important. The break up of an important relationship, or not being able to be with someone you love can have a significant effect on your wairua (spirit).
Kia kaha, Kia maia, Kia manawanui.
Improve your mental wellbeing
Learn how to manage stress, calm your mind or lift your mood.
Get mental health support
Access services, get support and learn about caring for your mental wellbeing
Cancer Society of New Zealand
Access cancer support nurses, one-on-one support and counselling services
Find a support group or network near you
Find information and support on
taking care of yourself and others
A resource provided by Te Hiringa Hauora
(the Health Promotion Agency)