Learning that you have prostate cancer can be a shock. You may have felt numb, frightened, confused or angry. You may not have believed or even heard what the doctor was saying. You may have felt all alone, even if family or friends were in the room with you. These feelings are normal.

The first few days and weeks after diagnosis are often especially difficult. You may have trouble thinking, eating or sleeping. You and people close to you may experience a wide range of emotions, which can change often and without warning. You may swing between a sense of helpless despair and an impulse to take immediate action against your cancer. Becoming knowledgeable about prostate cancer and your treatment options can diminish this distress and will enable you to make informed decisions. You will also benefit emotionally from learning how to take charge of your treatment.

This process of educating yourself is easier with support from family, friends and health care professionals. The most important step you can take is to seek help as soon as you realize that you could use some help coping. Don't go through this experience alone. Let your family, trusted friends and your doctors and their staff know about your struggles and any mood changes.

Learning to live with the inevitable uncertainty about treatment outcomes is a challenge for anyone. Although there are no guarantees that you've achieved a cure you may actually live your full natural life span. Your PSA level should be checked at appropriate intervals for the rest of your life. Some men experience "PSA anxiety" around the time they're due for testing, but many manage to live without obsessive worry about recurrence. This guide offers some strategies that may help both you and your loved ones live with more ease with your cancer.