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Tips for Side Effects

Dear Iris: These Side Effects Are Hitting Me Hard

Dear Iris,

Since prostate cancer entered my life, dealing with the treatment side effects has been quite a challenge. Fatigue, urinary leakage, and this rollercoaster of emotions are hitting me hard. Any tips or advice on managing these side effects? I'm trying to find ways to keep some sense of normalcy in my daily routine.


Dear B,

Managing treatment related side effects can be difficult. It can be hard to decipher what side effects are expected and which ones require more immediate follow-up. While some of the side effects you described are expected with treatment, it’s important that you communicate these changes with your oncology team for further evaluation. Since the causes of these side effects can differ, it's crucial to identify the root issue for better management.

Here are a few tips for you to try:


  • Monitor your sleep habits. Are you noticing that you’re having difficulty going to sleep and staying asleep? Are you waking up multiple times throughout the night? 

  • Changes in your sleep patterns can affect your energy levels throughout the day. Addressing the reason for multiple wake ups throughout the night can help with daytime fatigue. 

  • Schedule short breaks or naps throughout the day to help conserve your energy. 

  • Plan activities that are important to you when you have the most energy during the day.

Urinary Leakage

  • Kegel exercises are a great way to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and help with urinary leakage. Practice these exercises daily to best support your muscles. 

    • Check out the “Go Deeper” section to learn more about Kegel exercises. 

  • Consider avoiding bladder irritants which can increase urinary frequency and cause spasms. This includes items such as coffee, caffeinated tea, soda, spicy foods, certain fruit juices, etc. 

  • Schedule bathroom trips every 2-3 hours instead of waiting for the urge to go to the bathroom.

Emotional Support

  • It is normal to experience a range of emotions from cancer-related changes. Noticing, naming, and expressing your emotions may be new to you and take some time to develop. 

    • Check out the “Go Deeper” section to access 10 tips for coping with cancer. 

  • Consider scheduling an appointment with an Iris mental health therapist. Our team can provide individualized support to help explore the emotions you’re feeling and provide support.

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Jessica Suarez, BSN, RN, OCN

Senior Oncology RN

Iris Oncology

After working in various specialties throughout her career as a nurse, oncology holds a dear place in Jessica Suarez’s heart. Having supported family members and friends through cancer care has greatly impacted her desire to serve this specific population. Jessica has significant clinical experience working with head and neck, esophageal, and lung cancers and is passionate about working with patients to identify barriers or gaps in care and empowering them with the tools necessary to overcome them.

This article meets Iris standards for medical accuracy. It has been fact-checked by the Iris Clinical Editorial Board, our team of oncology experts who ensure that the content is evidence based and up to date. The Iris Clinical Editorial Board includes board-certified oncologists and pharmacists, psychologists, advanced practice providers, licensed clinical social workers, oncology-certified nurses, and dietitians.