Taking Care of Matters Near the End of Life

Living With Advanced Prostate Cancer

Living With Advanced Prostate Cancer


Taking Care of Matters Near the End of Life

It’s something everyone needs to think about: taking care of matters at the end of life

A diagnosis with advanced prostate cancer can trigger a flood of worries and questions. You may have been thinking about practical matters like work or finances; or you may have been reflecting on deeper questions about death. These are all common thoughts that people have. Talking about your concerns with people close to you and your healthcare team can help ensure you have all your matters dealt with.


In this section you’ll find information on:

Putting Your Affairs in Order

  • Writing your will
  • Relationships, saying goodbyes

Making Choices

  • Power of attorney
  • Funeral arrangements
  • Do not resuscitate (DNR) order


Making or updating your Will ensures that your estate is handled exactly the way you intended. It can help to make sure that your loved ones and those you care about are looked after and that your wishes are carried out.


Helpful tips when preparing your Will

  • Make a list of all your possessions. This should include items such as jewelry, savings certificates, vehicles, etc.
  • Make a list of items that you wish to go to specific people. This list should be attached to, and mentioned in the Will.
  • Ensure there are two competent adults of legal age who can witness your signature when signing your Will


Choosing an Executor


After you’ve written your Will, it’s important to inform a trusted person or the executor of its location. The executor is the person who will be responsible to manage your estate after your death. Choose someone whom you trust and someone who is able to carry out this responsibility.

For more information on preparing a Will in Canada, visit http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/bereavement/planning

Saying Goodbye Matters


For some cancer patients, the chance to say goodbye or “I love you” means a great deal.

Being able to gather friends and loved ones and let them know what they mean to you can be very important. It can give everyone you know an opportunity to share their feelings and thoughts, which can be a source of comfort to you and your family.


How would you want to say goodbye to your friends and family? Here are some ideas to help you say goodbye in a meaningful way:

  • If you have children or grandchildren, consider writing them a letter that they can read and treasure when they are older.
  • You may also like to convey your message on a slideshow or in a scrapbook of photographs.
  • If you have a video camera or voice recorder, you may prefer to record something for your loved ones to hear and see.

Saying goodbye is a personal choice. Perhaps you don’t want to do this – and there is nothing wrong with that choice. You have to do what feels right for you.


Having practical matters settled can give men and their families peace of mind. Here are some tips and ideas:

Assigning a Power of Attorney


If you were unable to speak or make decisions for yourself, whom would you want to help you in a critical decision making moment? A Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to name someone who will act on your behalf.


There are two types:

  • For financial decisions (such as paying your bills), you can assign a continuing power of attorney for property.
  • For health and medical care decisions, you can assign someone in a power of attorney for personal care.


You don’t have to assign anyone as a power of attorney; however, if you don’t choose someone, the government may choose an individual to make decisions on your behalf. Therefore, it may be worthwhile to think of someone whom you trust and who knows you well to be given power of attorney.


Helpful Tools :

To download a Power of Attorney kit, go to your provincial or territorial government website and search for “Power of Attorney”. You can also speak to a lawyer regarding Power of Attorney.

Making Funeral Arrangements


Thinking about funeral arrangements can be extremely upsetting. At the same time, knowing that you have helped set a plan for this day may give you a sense of control and your loved ones peace of mind during this emotional time.


To get started, think about what your wishes would be for your funeral:

  • Where do you want the funeral to be held?
  • Will you be buried or cremated? If cremation were your option, then where would you like your ashes to be placed?
  • Where will your final resting place be?
  • Would you like flowers or donations in lieu of flowers?
  • What, if any, music would you like played? Would you like specific readings?


When you’ve had some time to think about these wishes, and in conversation with your loved ones, you may want to get in touch with a funeral director.


Helpful Tools:

Download our “My Funeral Plans” document to help capture your wishes.

Living Wills


A Living Will gives your healthcare team instructions on what to do for your medical care, in the event that you are not unable to communicate or make decisions.


Here are some of the care issues you may want to cover in your living will:

  • Do I want to use any breathing machines (ventilators) to help me if I am unable to breathe on my own?
  • Should cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) be used if my breathing or heartbeat stops?
  • Do I want artificial feeding, such as tube feeding, if I can’t feed myself anymore?
  • What kinds of treatments, such as antibiotics, pain or antinausea medicines, do I accept or not accept?
  • At what point should I continue or not continue with treatment, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy?


If you have advanced prostate cancer, you have the right to refuse treatment. A living Will ensures that everyone knows what you want.


TIP: Once you’ve written your living Will, put it in a safe place; let your loved ones know where you’ve put it. You may also want to put a card in your wallet that says you have a living Will, and note the location.

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