Stressed while on watchful waiting for prostate cancer

Remember, asking for help is a sign of strength. Rather than being a seen as weakness, it actually takes courage to admit that you can’t do everything alone. If you’re experiencing higher than normal levels of stress or anxiety while on watchful waiting, reach out for help today.

Also, keep in mind that many men have been on watchful waiting. Although everyone’s exact journey is different, the key is to take it a day at a time and make yourself a priority. Never hesitate to seek comfort from those close to you, like a partner, friend or loved one. Your loved ones, as well as your doctor or care team, are there to support you along the way.

Worried while
on watchful waiting?

For some men, watchful waiting is the best option, but this decision can come 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
worries like:
What if the cancer becomes more aggressive?
What if I have other health problems that could make treatment difficult?
Why me?

These are all valid, important and personal questions. Remember that you have people in your corner (like your doctor, care team, counsellors, family and friends) to help you work through these feelings.

Counselling, support and activities
to reduce stress

If your feelings of stress or anxiety are becoming overwhelming, talk to your doctor or care team, and they can guide you towards helpful solutions. You can also check out the useful resources below.
The Canadian Cancer Society

Mental and emotional wellness after a prostate cancer diagnosis

The Canadian Cancer Society

Information and resources on managing life with cancer

Wellspring

Community-based and online support and programs

On a day-to-day basis, there are several
things you can do to be more at ease.

Make your
follow-up appointments

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 or care team

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.

Seek out
counselling

At a time when you have so much on your shoulders, someone who’ll listen without judgment is critical. 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 specialize 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.

To find out more information and locate a therapist or counsellor near you visit Psychology Today or Good Therapy.

Join a
support group

Talking to other men 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.

You can also take a look at these support and community resources from the Canadian Cancer Society and Wellspring.

Spiritually connect

Some men 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 a lake or somewhere out in nature.

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.

Maintain a
healthy lifestyle

Regular exercise and eating nutritious food can boost your mood and give you energy. That positive energy can reduce your stress and put you at ease.

More on making changes for a healthier lifestyle

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,
family and friends

Being open with people you trust can lighten the load on your shoulders. 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.

Remember, asking for help is a sign of strength. Rather than being a seen as weakness, it actually takes courage to admit that you can’t do everything alone. If you’re experiencing higher than normal levels of stress or anxiety while on watchful waiting, reach out for help today.

What's next?

Now that you've read up on Stressed while on watchful waiting for prostate cancer, here are some related articles to explore as you continue to build your knowledge and understanding of this topic.
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