Managing symptoms and side effects
During any stage of
prostate cancer, there are things you can do at home
to help manage the symptoms of cancer or the side effects of treatment or both. If your doctor has given you instructions or medicines to treat symptoms or side effects, be sure to use them. Healthy habits such as eating right and getting enough
sleep and exercise can help control your symptoms and side effects.
Try the following tips to manage:
- Nausea or vomiting. Watch for and treat early signs of dehydration, such as having a dry mouth or feeling lightheaded when you stand up. Eating smaller meals may help. So can a little bit of ginger candy or ginger tea.
- Pain. Not all forms of cancer or cancer treatment cause pain. But if you do have pain, there are many home treatments that can help.
- Diarrhea. Rest your stomach, and be alert for signs of dehydration. Check with your
doctor before using any nonprescription medicines for your diarrhea. Be sure to
drink enough fluids.
- Constipation. Make sure you drink enough fluids and eat fruits, vegetables, and
fiber in your diet each day. Do not use a laxative without first talking to
- Sleep problems. Often, simple measures such as having a regular bedtime, getting some exercise during the
day, and having no caffeine late in the day can help with sleep problems.
- Urinary problems. Home treatment for urinary incontinence includes eliminating
caffeinated drinks from your diet and setting a schedule of urinating every 3
to 4 hours, regardless of whether you feel the need. Try doing
pelvic floor (Kegel) exercises to strengthen your
- Learning that you have prostate cancer and being treated for it can be very stressful. Find ways to reduce your stress.
- You may want to talk with family or friends. Some people find that spending time alone is what they need.
Consider meeting with a counselor or joining a support group of others who have prostate cancer.
- Your doctor may also be able to help you find other sources of support and information. Learning relaxation techniques, such as yoga or visualization exercises, may also help you reduce your stress.
Your feelings about your body may change after treatment. Dealing with your body image may involve talking openly about your worries with your partner and discussing your feelings with a doctor.
For more information, see the topic Getting Support When You Have Cancer.
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Christopher G. Wood, MD, FACS - Urology, Oncology
September 12, 2012
©1995-2012, Healthwise, Incorporated, P.O. Box 1989, Boise, ID 83701.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
For more information,
How this information was developed.