Prostate Cancer and Depression

prostate-cancer-facts

I’ve written about my personal struggles with grief and suicide loss. I want to also talk about cancer, specifically prostate cancer, and depression.

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men, skin cancer being the first. 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime, as stated on cancer.org’s website. That’s huge! More men will have prostate complications. Think about the men in your life. Fathers, father in laws, cousins, uncles, grandfathers… the list goes on. Most of them have all had some sort of prostate issue. An enlarged prostate being the most common. My dad’s issues with his prostate started over 10 years ago.

I am finding a common link in men with prostate complications:

  • Prostate cancer diagnosis – depression
  • Removal of the prostate – depression
  • Prostate cancer survivor – depression

With a prostate cancer diagnosis, men can become depressed because it can compromise their sexual drive. What will happen after treatment? Men also don’t like talking about possible side effects of this nature to doctors. Men who are reading this, don’t be so prideful! Talk to your spouse and your doctors about this very real concern. With the removal of the prostate, men will have the same worry. Then thinking ahead, with treatment finished (prostate removal or radiation/hormone therapy) how can men lead a healthy life (sexually and otherwise)? These are questions that need to be talked about.

Everything points to depression! So why isn’t there a psychiatrist or counselor part of the treatment team when treating this cancer? Or any cancer for that matter? My dad got a certificate of radiation completion and that was it. He had an appointment every 6 months just for the hormone shot. It was like once my dad finished his treatment, that was it. Never an appointment to see how he was doing as a whole. Why couldn’t there be monthly appointments to check in? To talk about the side effects he was having? And his depression? All the statistics show that depression is a big part of this cancer process.

On the other hand, if psychiatrists and counselors were assigned to every cancer case, who is going to pay for that? The cost of everyone’s health insurance will continue to rise. I am not here to debate health insurance as a whole, but there needs to be something done about DEPRESSION and CANCER.

We also need to be proactive about our health. Throw the taboo of depression out the window. Stop thinking that it makes you less of a person or ‘crazy’. Stand up for yourself. Learn about the warning signs! Talk about it with your family. Make sure they are aware of the warning signs of depression so they can step in if needed. Depression is so very real. Don’t think, ‘Oh, I am strong, I won’t get depression.’ It doesn’t mean that a person isn’t strong! I think people that struggle with depression are one of the strongest people I know.

In summary, be proactive about your health. YOU matter.

 

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