You are not alone


On this journey with Prostate Cancer, you are never alone. Many have walked this road before, and you may find their stories insightful and helpful. With some basic tips on how to deal with symptoms of the disease and side effects of treatment you can make every day on your journey easier.

Mandla Zondo (72)

Mandla Zondo (72)

Mandla Zondo tells us how losing his brother to prostate cancer in the same year he was diagnosed motivated him to lobby hope and in turn co-found CanSurvive 
Kwa-Thema Support Group.

Ismail-Ian William Fife (53)

Ismail-Ian William Fife (53)

Not only did Ismail-Ian William Fife survive prostate cancer but also breast cancer. We hear how his battles birthed Can-Sir, a men’s cancer group, that has helped a substantial amount of men.

Dirk Wynand Human (51)

Dirk Wynand Human (51)

Once Dirk Human was diagnosed with prostate cancer, he learnt quickly how imperative it was to share what he was feeling with his family for them to better understand his experience.

Coping with
the impact

Full length portrait of a relaxed african american man leaning against wall

Early management of side effects has been shown to help patients live longer, better lives. Make a point of discussing any symptoms or side effects that you are experiencing as you undergo treatment with your healthcare professional. This will help in managing the side effects as early as possible to prevent it from becoming worse or developing downstream complications. 4


Whether symptoms are caused by the disease, or by the treatment itself, here are a few basic tips on how to cope with it:
Fatigue: 3,4,14

  • Fatigue may be more than just being tired; it may also leave you mentally and emotionally drained.
  • Regular exercise has shown to reduce the frequency and severity of fatigue experienced by those with Prostate Cancer.
  • Regular exercise also helps overcome muscle wasting and weakness that may develop as a side effect to treatment.
  • It might not be easy to exercise but try and exercise as much as you are physically able, at a pace which is maximal for your personal fitness.
  • Eating a balanced diet with some energy-boosting foods can also help fight fatigue – get advice from a dietitian to make dietary changes easy and affordable. Try and avoid caffeine.
  • Plan your day according to your energy levels, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you run out of energy.
  • Fatigue could also be a sign of anaemia, and you may need to be checked and treated for deficiencies in iron, folic acid and Vitamin B12.

Urinary / bowel symptoms
Urinary / bowel symptoms: 3,14

  • Consider regulating fluid intake; do not restrict overall intake, just taking smaller amounts more often.
  • Learn how to do pelvic floor exercises – it is a simple and easy way to improve muscle support of your bladder.
  • Consider wearing absorbent pads and dark-coloured underwear to make slips less noticeable.
  • Keep in mind that some pain medication can cause constipation – don’t stop taking them, but let your healthcare provider know about the problem.
  • Improve your overall fitness as well as lose some weight (if necessary) through lifestyle changes.
  • Bladder overactivity can be treated with medication; ask your healthcare professional for advice.

Erectile dysfunction, libido and fertility
Erectile dysfunction, libido and fertility: 4,14,15

  • Erectile dysfunction and low libido may be caused by surgery, or the hormone treatment used to treat Prostate Cancer, or even the emotional toll of the disease.
  • There is medication that can help to achieve an erection and have successful intercourse. Speak to your healthcare professional about the one that best suits your needs.
  • Also ask about devices that can be used when you are not able to use the available medication.
  • Keep in mind that some treatment cause irreversible fertility issues – speak to your doctor about sperm preservation before starting treatment.

Managing pain
Managing pain: 3,14

  • Pain could be dull aching or stabbing in the bones, or a shooting burning, tingling type of nerve pain. 
  • Request a prescription of pain-relievers (analgesics) that are strong enough to relieve pain without affecting everyday functioning. 
  • Many of the treatment options to fight the Prostate Cancer will also relieve your pain, especially radiotherapy. 
  • Keep a pain diary to help you describe the pain to your healthcare professional.
  • Regular gentle exercise can also improve pain.

Take care of your bones
Take care of your bones: 14

  • Both Prostate Cancer and hormone therapy can damage or thin bones. 
  • As bone become more fragile, medication to strengthen the bone can also help to reduce pain. 
  • Exercise strengthen bone and helps keep you strong and prevent falls, that could cause fractures.

Weight loss and loss of appetite
Weight loss and loss of appetite: 14

  • Both the disease and treatment can affect appetite and cause weight loss, which can aggravate weakness and fatigue.
  • Anti-nausea medication can be prescribed to help you manage any nausea caused by treatment.
  • Steroids are often prescribed with some Prostate Cancer treatments, which can increase appetite.
  • Eat smaller meals more often, avoiding strong-smelling foods. 
  • Cold food tend to smell less and my be easier to eat, while fatty and fried foods can worsen nausea. 
  • Drinking plenty of water helps you keep healthy but keep to small sips often. Don’t drink anything for a while before a meal.

Dealing with the emotions
Dealing with the emotions: 4,14

  • Your emotions have a significant impact on many symptoms and side effects associated with Prostate Cancer, such as fatigue, pain, appetite and sexual issues – don’t take these lightly.
  • Seek help from a support group or even professionals as soon as possible after diagnosis to deal and manage your emotions – a positive attitude can help you to take on this journey and could lead to better results. 
  • Just as you feel confused, so does your family. They generally feel powerless but will want to offer their help and support. Keep communicating and discover how much their support can mean to you.