Stress, Depression + Prostate Cancer

In February, we’re talking about stress, depression and prostate cancer. Join us to read the conversations.

Dr. Snuffy Myers offers his thoughts on this month’s conversations.

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Most issues of Prostatepedia focus on improving prostate cancer control. All treatments for prostate cancer, however, adversely impact quality of life. In fact, fear of side effects can lead patients to select a treatment that is less effective at cancer control or even to select no treatment at all. There are also patients who appear to be cured–but who must now face the life-long loss of sexual or urinary function. This month, we’re focusing on research aimed at helping patients cope with the emotional impact of a prostate cancer diagnosis and its treatment.

As many of you know, I have personally struggled with these issues. In February 1999, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and received aggressive radiation therapy. I also had hormonal therapy for 18 months. I had to learn how best to deal with the side effects of these treatments and then how to recover. It has now been 18 years since I was diagnosed: I have also, therefore, had to deal with the long-term consequences of those treatments.

In my own case, exercise has had a huge impact on my quality of life. Both aerobic exercise and weight lifting proved very effective in helping me recover from both radiation and hormonal therapy. They have remained key to my survivorship program. I also found meditation very useful in reducing the stress of the initial diagnosis and of the treatment side effects. I even found it an important tool for pain control.

In my clinical practice, I found that attention to survivorship issues increased the odds of having happy, optimistic patients rather than depressed, pessimistic patients.

I hope you find this month’s Prostatepedia as useful as I did.

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