by EBSCO Medical Review Board

You can make changes in your life that may:

  • Build up your body so you can take some of the rigors of treatment.
  • Boost your immune system so it can help your body fight the cancer.
  • Help with your emotional outlook. This will let you enjoy life to the fullest.
  • Help keep you from having other health problems.

Quit Smoking

Smoking raises the risk of other health problems. It slows healing and causes harm to the body.

When you quit smoking, the body heals itself right away. Quitting will help boost your immune system to help fight the cancer. It will help you feel better while you’re getting treated. It will also lower your risk of future cancers.

Lower Your Risk of Infection

Cancer and how it is treated slow the body's immune system. This can raise the risk of infection. It also makes common infections more serious. To lower your infection risk:

  • Wash hands thoroughly and often. Hand washing is the best way to prevent colds and the flu. Carry hand sanitizer for times when washing can't be done.
  • Try to stay away from crowds, mainly during cold and flu season.
  • Try not to touch your eyes, mouth, and nose after touching other surfaces or objects.
  • Clean and sanitize surfaces and objects often.
  • Ask your doctor about getting vaccines to protect against the flu and pneumonia.

Dietary Changes

Eating the right foods will help your overall health, energy, mood, and how fast you can get better.

Getting cancer treated can lower your hunger level. You need to be able to get the most from the foods you eat and stop weight loss. A dietitian can help you plan meals.

Exercise Regularly

If you have not been exercising regularly, check with your doctor to choose a safe exercise program. Even light exercise can help you feel better. It will also make you feel better during times of stress.

Exercise will boost your:

  • Fitness
  • Energy
  • Immune system
  • Your spirits and make your outlook better

Talk to a personal trainer to help you set exercise goals. While adding exercise, be sure to balance rest and activities so you don't get too tired.

Manage Fatigue

Feeling very tired is the most common side effect with cancer and how it is treated. To help from getting overtired, list your tasks and focus on what needs to be done first. Let others help you with daily chores, shopping, and making meals. Make sure to plan to get rest when you need to. You will also feel more tired if you’re not eating right.

Talk to your doctor if you’re so tired it makes it hard for you to get through the day.

Seek Support

Finding out you have cancer is a major event that can be hard to handle. Facing a serious illness, feeling anxious about treatment, changes in your life, and worrying about cancer’s impact can be overwhelming. You will need to rely on family, friends, and other people in your life. People who seek help when they have cancer can often keep better emotional balance. Other sources of support are:

  • Religious community
  • Support groups for people with your type of cancer
  • Professional support from social workers, psychologists, and/or psychiatrists who are trained to help support cancer patients and their families

Family and caregivers may also need support. Encourage them to seek support groups or counseling geared toward them.

Comfort Measures

Prostate cancer found in later stages can be harder to treat. Some people choose ways to ease related health problems or to stop treatment completely. It may be realistic to begin end-of-life planning. This may mean:

  • Choosing home or hospice care
  • Financial decisions
  • Advance directives—includes legal issues, like wills, hospital orders for your care, and power of attorney for medical care and finances
  • Insurance coverage

If you need guidance, talk to a member of your healthcare team. You can be referred to an expert who can guide you through the process.


Prostate cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: . Updated October 16, 2018. Accessed December 11, 2019.

Stay healthy. American Cancer Society website. Available at: Accessed December 11, 2019.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Nicole Meregian, PA
  • Review Date: 09/2019
  • Update Date: 12/01/2020