After your treatment (surgical, radiotherapy or observation only) you will still go on having the common aches and pains (such as headaches and back aches) that are a normal part of living and growing older! Men tell us that, after a diagnosis of cancer, they are more likely to think of these normal symptoms as a sign of the cancer returning or spreading, when this is not the case.
Sometimes after surgery to remove an organ, something feels different, because your organs internally have a different arrangement with each other. This is not harmful in any way but may be interpreted as due to the cancer.
Recovery from surgery or radiotherapy will also involve symptoms that may be new to you but are part of the healing process. Again, you may wonder if these new feelings are a sign of cancer returning.
If you are concerned about any of these, you may be worrying unnecessarily! These are sources of worry you can easily do without. Talk to your doctor or specialist when in doubt. Talking to other men who have had your type of treatment may also be helpful. See Resources.
Because the PSA level is the best reassurance that the cancer is not growing, it is easy to become very focused on that regular test result, and let it invade one’s day to day living. This kind of focus can distract a person from their normal enjoyment in life. It is not necessary once you have established a program of regular monitoring with your doctor. After initial treatment and recovery, there is no reason why you should not return to your normal activities and enjoy an active life.
If your concerns about prostate cancer persist and interfere with your quality of life, discuss them with your doctor or specialist and seek further help. Fact sheet 34 on the Beyondblue website discusses anxiety, depression and prostate cancer and gives further resources. The book by John Ashfield in the Resource section is also an excellent resource.
Routine monitoring is normal after treatment of prostate cancer. Aches and pains will occur – but may be just due to growing older!