Urology Health - Lifestyle Changes
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Diet

A healthy diet may increase your energy levels and enhance your immune system. It is of great value to think about the foods you eat and to try to maintain a healthy weight. Healthy eating habits can improve your health and risks.

Healthy food choices may include:

  • Plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • High fiber foods
  • Low fat foods
  • Limited amounts of simple sugars
  • Limited amounts of processed foods (especially processed meats like deli foods and bacon)

Because prostate cancer treatment can affect your appetite, eating habits and weight, it is of great value to try your best to eat healthy. If you have a hard time eating well, reach out to a registered dietitian/nutritionist (RDN). There are ways to help you get the nutrition you need.

Exercise

Physical exercise may improve your physical and emotional health. It can also help you manage your weight, maintain muscle and bone strength and help manage side effects.

If approved by your doctor, you may want to exercise one to three hours per week. Cardiovascular exercise and strength/ resistance training may be good choices. This can include walking or more intense exercise. Physical exercise may help you to:

  • Reduce anxiety
  • Improve energy
  • Improve self-esteem
  • Feel more hopeful
  • Improve heart health
  • Reach a healthy weight
  • Boost muscle strength
  • Maintain bone health

Pelvic floor exercise may help men being treated for prostate cancer. The pelvic floor is a group of muscles and structures in your pelvis between your legs. The pelvic floor supports the bowel, bladder and sexual organs. They help with urinary and fecal functions as well as sexual performance. The muscles contract and relax, just like any other muscle in your body. Pelvic floor exercises can help with side effects like erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence.

Emotional Stress

After treatment, some men feel relieved the cancer is gone. Many men may worry about cancer coming back (recurrence). If the cancer returns, you and your doctor will talk about next steps and make a plan.

Some men are upset by the side effects of treatment. Urinary and erection problems can feel like a loss of one’s usual self. Those feelings are normal and will get better as you learn to manage your side effects and see improvements. Whatever you are feeling, it is worth telling your doctor. Cancer is always stressful and a trained counselor may help you manage your mental health.

If you have a partner, be sure that your partner is a part of what you are going through. Couples cope better when they approach cancer treatment and the side effects of treatment as a team. If you do not have a partner, talk to a friend you trust about what you are going through. If you find you and your partner are not coping well, feel down or very anxious, it may help to talk to a counselor or a sex therapist to get support.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Most men choose to talk with their doctors before making a treatment choice. Even if you have done a lot of research on your own, talking with your doctor may help you sort out your thoughts. Here are some sample questions you might ask when you see your doctor:

  • What kind of prostate cancer do I have and how aggressive is it?
  • Are there other tests I should have to understand how advanced my cancer is?
  • What are the treatment options for this grade/stage of this cancer?
  • Which treatment do you recommend for me and why?
  • How long should I try a treatment type before we know whether it works?
  • What can I do to manage my symptoms?
  • What can I do to manage or prevent treatment side effects?
  • What is the average lifespan for people managing my grade/stage of cancer?
  • Can you refer me to another expert for a second (or third) opinion?
  • Can you put me in touch with a support group? ⏹ How can I help my overall health?

Updated February 2023.