Find support groups, events and resources near you

Life after Prostate Cancer

Life after prostate cancer treatment can be exciting and stressful. Be proud of your accomplishment and take time to view your life through a new lens.

Two men in sports gear holding a "I beat cancer" sign

Life after prostate cancer treatment

Finishing prostate cancer treatment can be both stressful and exciting. You may feel relief to have completed treatment, but you also may be worried about the cancer coming back. You may also be dealing with lingering side effects from treatment. Whichever situation you're in, take a moment to celebrate finishing treatment. This is a tremendous accomplishment! Now you can look at your life in new ways.

The new normal

The New Normal

An important thing to realize is that cancer doesn’t have an on/off switch. Even after treatment ends, you might find that life is not the same as it was before. The cancer, the various treatments, or the passage of time may have taken its toll. It can be frustrating not to be able to return to “normal.” However, understand that the definition of normal may have changed for you—and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Life after treatment will be a time of change. You are still recovering from treatment, and adjusting to the idea of life without cancer. This may be scary and destabilizing to you, but it’s important not to be intimidated by the path ahead. Take the time you need to recover, and consider the following tips:

Don’t expect to recover instantly

Receive the understanding of your family and community

Develop new hobbies or interests to fit with your abilities

Some parts of your life will be permanently changed, particularly depending on the side effects of your treatment. Although it may be hard, try not to linger on the things you can no longer do. Instead, find positive alternatives.

Long-term side effects

Long-term side effects

Depending upon the type of treatment you had, several aspects of your life may have changed. Talk with your health care professionals about how to handle lasting side effects. Visit our side effects section to learn more about managing some common long term side effects.

Medical follow-up

Medical follow-up

Just like when you were in cancer treatment, make sure to talk to your doctor and those around you for help with health problems.

As you finish treatment, ask for a Survivorship Care Plan so you will have a complete record of your prostate cancer diagnosis and the treatments you had. This will also give you a back-up plan in case of recurrence or new health problems.

For years after treatment you will need to see your doctor for follow-up. These visits can include different tests such as blood tests, physical exams, or scans. Many people find these follow-up visits stressful but it is important to keep up to date on your appointments. Make sure to keep your doctor informed about any problems you are having. This is vital to maintaining health and happiness into long-term survivorship.

Healthy living

Healthy living

Some of the treatment options for prostate cancer, such as androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), can result in weight gain and bone loss. Depression and fatigue, which are common side effects of prostate cancer, can make it hard for even the most motivated man to exercise or eat healthy foods. These effects can linger well after treatment is concluded.

However, there is always hope for a healthy life after prostate cancer. A study at the University of Southern California on the effects of exercise on prostate cancer survivors found that many participants not only regained bone density, but also reported a more positive mood. In fact, an exercise routine as simple as walking can aid prostate cancer survivors in improving their fatigue, depression, and body weight issues.

As it is for all aspects of the cancer journey, nutrition is very important for survivorship. Unfortunately, prostate cancer treatments can sometimes result in appetite loss, changes in smell or taste, or depression, which can limit dietary choices.

Finding support after treatment

Like you, your loved ones might expect that you are able to go back to “normal” now. This is a time for you to have an honest conversation about the challenges you are facing and the differences that cancer has made in your life. But this is also an opportunity to find the joy in recovery. Share the newfound wonders of life with your loved ones and bring them along your journey of healing. It may seem like the battle with cancer is over, but that does not mean you do not still need the support and understanding of your family and friends.

Below we offer some of our support resources as well as ways to become involved in the community.