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What To Expect With Prostate Cancer

Understanding What Happens Immediately After Death

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When death occurs, the persons muscles will relax, breathing will stop, the heart will stop beating, and there will be no pulse.

Even when death is expected, it is commonand normalfor caregivers to feel a sense of shock and disbelief. Although home health or hospice staff and the persons doctor should be notified, a natural death is not an emergency. There is usually no need to call medical personnel immediately. Many people find it comforting to take some time to sit with their loved one, perhaps talking quietly, holding hands, or watching their loved one at peace.

How Can I Help Myself

Urinary problems can affect your self-esteem and independence, and affect your work, social and sex life.

Making some changes to your lifestyle may help, and there are some practical steps that can make things easier.

  • Try to drink plenty of fluids, but cut down on fizzy drinks, alcohol, tea and coffee as these may irritate the bladder
  • Do regular pelvic floor muscle exercises to help strengthen the muscles that control when you urinate.
  • Try to stay a healthy weight. Being overweight can put pressure on your bladder and pelvic floor muscles.
  • If you smoke, try to stop. Smoking can cause coughing which puts pressure on your pelvic floor muscles. NHS Choices has more information about stopping smoking
  • Plan ahead when you go out. For example, find out where there are public toilets before leaving home.
  • Pack a bag with extra pads, underwear and wet wipes. Some men also find it useful to carry a screw-top container in case they cant find a toilet.
  • Get our Urgent toilet card to help make it easier to ask for urgent access to a toilet.
  • Disability Rights UK runs a National Key Scheme for anyone who needs access to locked public toilets across the UK because of a disability or health condition.
  • If you often need to use the toilet at night, leave a light on in case youre in a hurry, or keep a container near your bed.

Prostate Specific Antigen Blood Test

A PSA blood test is a common test for prostate cancer. Depending on your GP surgery, you may be able to book an appointment to have your blood taken there, or you may need to make an appointment at a nearby clinic. You may also have a local walk-in clinic where you can have a blood test the same day.

Your blood will be tested for the presence of a protein thats produced by the prostate and the results will take a few days. The prostate produces this protein whether its healthy or has become cancerous, so most men will have a certain amount of this protein in their blood.

However, if a PSA blood test result is very high, referred to as a raised PSA level, it may be an indicator that you have prostate cancer. Having a raised PSA level doesnt necessarily mean that you have prostate cancer though, and could be a sign of an infection, prostatitis or an enlarged prostate.

As many as three in four men with a raised PSA level do not have prostate cancer. For this reason, a raised PSA level is not usually used on its own to diagnose prostate cancer.

A PSA blood test can sometimes also miss prostate cancer, which is why your doctor will also perform a digital rectal exam and urine test to collate a series of results.

Read Also: Prostate Cancer Stages And Treatment

If Treatment Does Not Work

Recovery from cancer is not always possible. If the cancer cannot be cured or controlled, the disease may be called advanced or terminal.

This diagnosis is stressful, and for some people, advanced cancer may be difficult to discuss. However, it is important to have open and honest conversations with your health care team to express your feelings, preferences, and concerns. The health care team has special skills, experience, and knowledge to support patients and their families and is there to help. Making sure a person is physically comfortable, free from pain, and emotionally supported is extremely important.

People who have advanced cancer and who are expected to live less than 6 months may want to consider hospice care. Hospice care is designed to provide the best possible quality of life for people who are near the end of life. You and your family are encouraged to talk with the health care team about hospice care options, which include hospice care at home, a special hospice center, or other health care locations. Nursing care and special equipment, including a hospital bed, can make staying at home a workable option for many families. Learn more about advanced cancer care planning.

After the death of a loved one, many people need support to help them cope with the loss. Learn more about grief and loss.

Faq: Radiation Therapy For Prostate Cancer

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Why would I choose radiation therapy?

Radiation therapy, including external beam radiation therapy and brachytherapy, is an alternative form of treatment for prostate cancer. EBRT may be used after other treatments, such as surgery, to manage cancer that has recurred or is at high risk of recurrence. Radiation therapy has an excellent record of success, providing long-term disease control and survival rates equivalent to other treatments, including surgery.

How should I expect to feel during radiation therapy?

Undergoing external beam radiation therapy is similar to having a routine X-ray. Radiation cannot be seen, smelled or felt. Generally, side effects don’t appear until the second or third week of treatment. Because radiation therapy is a local treatment, only the areas of the body where it is directed will experience side effects. Most patients will experience some or all of the following:

  • Increase in the frequency of urination
  • Urinary urgency
  • Softer and smaller volume bowel movements
  • Increased frequency of bowel movements
  • Worsening of hemorrhoids or rectal irritation with occasional scant blood and fatigue

Many questions may arise during radiation therapy treatment. Your doctors will be available to answer questions throughout your treatment.

How should I expect to feel after radiation therapy?

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A Note About Sex And Gender

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms, male, female, or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. .

will depend on the cancer stage, among other factors, such as the Gleason score and PSA levels. It is also worth noting that many treatment options may be applicable, regardless of the stage of cancer.

In the sections below, we list some for prostate cancer and explore what treatment may mean for fertility.

What Happens Without Treatment

Healthcare providers will sometimes talk about a particular diseases natural history or typical progression if it is left untreated indefinitely.

With regard to prostate cancer, most cases of the disease are discovered while the cancer is still confined to the prostate itself. This is called local disease or localized disease.

The disease is easiest to treat while it is confined to the prostate. At this stage, surgery and radiation are most likely to be curative and completely kill or remove whatever cancer cells are present.

If left untreated, however, prostate cancer can proceed on a number of different paths.

Recommended Reading: What Is C61 Malignant Neoplasm Of Prostate

Keeping Up With Appointments And Screenings

Attending your doctors appointments after youve entered remission is very important. If you need to skip an appointment, you should make another appointment as soon as possible.

Use these appointments as a time to discuss any concerns you may have with your doctor. Your doctor can also conduct tests to check for the cancers return during these appointments.

Two tests to detect recurrent prostate cancer include a digital rectal exam and a PSA blood test. During a DRE, your doctor will insert a finger into your rectum. If your doctor detects something unusual, theyll likely ask for additional follow-up tests. These tests may include bone scans and imaging studies, such as an ultrasound or MRI.

Men often experience side effects from their prostate cancer treatments. Some of these side effects may be immediate and temporary. Others may take several weeks or months to show up and never fully disappear.

Common side effects from prostate cancer treatment include:

Should I Get A Second Opinion

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You may have received a prostate cancer diagnosis from your urologist or another physician. If their area of specialty is not prostate cancer treatment specifically, it would be best to discuss your treatment options with an oncologist a doctor that specializes in cancer treatment.

There are several different approaches to prostate cancer treatment. If cancer is found at an early stage your doctor may recommend an active surveillance or watchful waiting approach. There are several different medical treatments available as well. Each individual case is different, and if you have any doubt whatsoever about the treatment plan thats best for you, or if you just want to determine if the suggested treatment plan is what a cancer specialist would also suggest, it would be best to get a second opinion.

Most insurance companies will cover a second opinion assessment, but you should always check with your insurance provider to check your coverage before making an appointment. Learn more about our prostate cancer specialists located throughout Virginia.

Read Also: Do Doctors Still Do Prostate Exams

After A Diagnosis Of Prostate Cancer

After finding out you have prostate cancer, you may feel shocked, upset, anxious or confused. These are normal responses. Talk about your treatment options with your doctor, family and friends. Ask questions and seek as much information as you need. It is up to you as to how involved you want to be in making decisions about your treatment.

After non-melanoma skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in Australia. In 2016, 19,305 Australian men were diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is unusual in that it is slow growing in some men and not a threat, but for others the cancer can be aggressive. Cure rates for prostate cancer are improving, however side-effects of treatment may affect your lifestyle including sexual function and continence.

To ensure that you receive the best care, your specialist will arrange for a team of health professionals based on your needs and preferences

Learn more about the best prostate cancer care for each step of your treatment:

In The Last Days Of Life Patients And Family Members Are Faced With Making Decisions About Treatments To Keep The Patient Alive

Decisions about whether to use life-sustaining treatments that may extend life in the final weeks or days cause a great deal of confusion and anxiety. Some of these treatments are ventilator use, parenteral nutrition, and dialysis.

Patients may be guided by their oncologist, but have the right to make their own choices about life-sustaining treatments. The following are some of the questions to discuss:

  • What are the patients goals of care?
  • How would the possible benefits of life-sustaining treatments help reach the patients goals of care, and how likely would this be?
  • How would the possible harms of life-sustaining treatments affect the patients goals of care? Is the possible benefit worth the possible harm?
  • Besides possible benefits and harms of life-sustaining treatments, what else can affect the decision?
  • Are there other professionals, such as a chaplain or medical ethicist, who could help the patient or family decide about life-sustaining treatments?

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What About Trans People

People born with a prostate can develop prostate cancer. Individuals born without a prostate cannot develop prostate cancer.

Trans women who use hormone therapy such as estrogen may have a lower risk, but the risk is still present.

Anyone born with a prostate should speak to their doctor about screening for prostate cancer.

What To Expect During The Digital Rectal Exam

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Your doctor may examine you either standing or lying down.

  • If standing, you will be asked to stand facing the examination bed, with feet apart, body bent forward and your arms or elbows on the bed. Feel free to ask your doctor to give you a heads up before making any sudden movements.
  • Wearing surgical gloves, the doctor will coat a finger in lubricant.
  • The finger will be inserted into your rectum in a downwards angle. You may feel a little pressure or slight discomfort, but it shouldnt hurt. It is important to relax and take deep breaths and let the doctor know immediately if there is pain.
  • Your doctor may have to wait a few seconds for your external sphincter muscle to relax, and may ask you to bear down as if you are having a bowel movement.
  • The doctor moves the finger in a circular motion in order to identify the lobes and groove of the prostate gland. The doctor checks for:Lumps on or around the prostate
  • Hard spots or bumps
  • Abnormalities on the prostate
  • A normal prostate is usually around 2-4 cm long and has a triangular shape, with a firm and rubbery texture
  • Once finished, your doctor will probably tell you he is going to remove his finger. You may be offered some tissue or wipes to clean off the lubricant.
  • The whole procedure should take about 5 minutes from start to finish, and there are no special precautions that need to be taken prior to the exam.
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    Definitions Of Disease Categories

    ICD codes used in the disease categories were the following : myocardial infarction , other coronary heart disease , cerebrovascular accident , arterial disease , heart failure , pneumonia , chronic lower respiratory disease , external causes , complications of diagnostic or surgical procedures , complications of therapeutic drug or vaccine usage , suicide , traffic accident , falls , other heart disease , gastrointestinal disease , dementia , diabetes , complications of heart disease , urinary system disease , symptoms , pulmonary circulation , nervous system disease , hypertensive disease , other bacterial disease , psychic disease , anemia , tumors other than prostate cancer , and prostate cancer .

    Treatment For Adult Diaper Rash

    Most cases of adult diaper rash can be treated by keeping the area clean and applying a healing ointment or cream.

  • Make sure to change the absorbent product frequently â dont stay in a product that has been soiled or has become sweaty. Even slightly wet products can prolong the treatment of the rash.

  • Wash thoroughly, but gently. Make sure to wash and rinse the genital area after each change with lukewarm water and mild, chemical-free soap. Dont scrub or irritate the rash.

  • Thoroughly dry the area by patting it dry with a towel . Allow the area to air out for a few minutes before dressing.

  • Apply a diaper rash cream to the irritated skin. There are many over-the-counter creams that contain zinc oxide that can soothe the skin and create a barrier to protect it from additional chafing. LL Medico and Live Anew, two of our Trusted Partners also carry lines of ointment.

  • Ensure that your product or clothing fits properly and is not too tight.

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    Who Is At Risk For Advanced Prostate Cancer

    The exact cause of prostate cancer isnt clear. Your risk of developing this particular cancer increases after you reach age 50.

    Certain groups are more likely to develop aggressive forms of prostate cancer, including African-American men and men who carry certain inherited genetic mutations such as BRCA1, BRCA2, and HOXB13.

    Most men with prostate cancer dont always have a family history of the disease. But having a father or brother with prostate cancer more than

    • bone scans

    You probably wont need all of these tests. Your doctor will choose the tests based on your symptoms and physical exam.

    If any of the images reveal abnormalities, it doesnt necessarily mean that you have cancer. Additional testing may be necessary. If they find a mass, your doctor will probably order a biopsy.

    For a biopsy, your doctor will use a needle to remove samples from the suspicious area. A pathologist will then analyze the removed cells under a microscope to see if theyre cancerous. The pathologist can also determine if you have an aggressive form of prostate cancer.

    My Tips For Family And Friends

    What to Expect: Low-Risk Prostate Cancer
    • It was very difficult to get the care we needed so that Mick could die at home. But Im really glad we did I know I did everything I could to help him have the death that he wanted.
    • Death can be peaceful. I was so worried about Mick being in pain or that I wouldnt know what to do. But in the end, Micks death was very peaceful. Talking to the doctors and nurses and knowing what to expect was essential.
    • Have a close family member or friend on-call. I didnt know whether Id want to be alone with Mick in his final hours or whether Id want someone with me. Knowing there was someone who I could call day or night and who would be round in half an hour was really reassuring.

    The nurses would sit and talk to me and see how I was.

    Read Also: What Size Of Prostate Requires Surgery

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    The Final Days To Weeks Of Life

    Providing excellent care toward the end of life requires an ability to anticipate when to focus mainly on palliation of symptoms and quality of life instead of disease treatment. Prognostic information plays an important role for making treatment decisions and planning for the EOL. However, the available literature suggests that medical providers inaccurately predict how long patients will live and tend to overestimate survival times. This appears to hold true even for providers who are experienced in treating patients who are terminally ill. In a multicenter cohort study of 230 hospitalized patients with advanced cancer, palliative care providers correctly predicted time to death for only 41% of patients. Survival time was overestimated in 85% of patients for whom medical providers gave inaccurate predictions, and providers were particularly likely to overestimate survival for Black and Latino patients.

    Providers attempting to make prognostic determinations may attend to symptoms that may herald the EOL , or they may observe trends in patients functional status.

    The investigators assigned patients to one of four states:


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