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Coping With a Prostate Cancer Diagnosis

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Published on February 4, 2019

Prostate cancer patients can experience a wide range of emotions throughout their treatment journey. How can patients manage stress and deal with uncertainty, anxiety or fear? Catherine Cassingham, a solid tumor social worker from Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, discusses common emotional responses to a prostate cancer diagnosis and shares how patients can learn to cope with their condition. Watch now to hear her expert opinion.

This is a Patient Empowerment Network program produced by Patient Power in partnership with Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. We thank Astellas, Clovis Oncology and Pfizer for their support. These organizations have no editorial control. Patient Power is solely responsible for program content.

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Transcript | Coping With a Prostate Cancer Diagnosis

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That's how you’ll get care that's most appropriate for you.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Andrew Schorr:

Let’s talk about coping with that, first, emotionally for the family member as well as the patient, and then, also, this decision-making where, do you go left, do you go right, it’s hard.

Catherine Cassingham:           

It is, definitely. First of all, thank you very much for having me and I do—whether it’s prostate cancer or any type of cancer, when you first get that diagnosis, it can be incredibly stressful. Everybody deals with that and copes with a diagnosis differently. I think it can be really important that, whatever you are experiencing, to know that that’s normal, and to then seek out supports based on kind of what you’re going through.

There are times where I will see somebody when they are first diagnosed and they’re pretty much in a state of shock, and so we’ll just kind of go through what they’re experiencing and what their shock looks like. Then, typically, as people get into treatment, they kind of feel like, okay, now I’ve got a plan. Sometimes they tend to be doing better when they feel like, okay, there’s something that I can be doing. 

Then, I will typically end up seeing people a little bit farther down the road when they’ve been going through treatment for a while, and still going through treatment is a stressful process. You typically have more doctors’ appointments. There’s ongoing stress. I like to talk about—it’s kind of like you start off with a glass full of water and that’s your ability to cope, and with every stressful event that happens, that keeps going down. It also gets to a point then where it’s really important to start filling that glass back up, and there’s many different forms of support that can help with that.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.