Supporting Your Loved One in His Journey With Prostate Cancer

If someone you love has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, you probably have many questions about what is best course of treatment and how to best support him in his fight against the disease. Here are some suggestions and resources to empower you to be a positive and active participant in his journey with cancer.  

Learn as much as you can about prostate cancer.

Since prostate cancer differs greatly from one person to another, it is important to educate yourself and your loved one about the disease. The information on this website, and selected others, will help you to ensure that treatment decisions are well informed and best suited to your loved one’s situation.  

Actively communicate and show that you care.

A diagnosis of prostate cancer is often unexpected and therefore can come as a shock. Now is the time to be understanding and patient – especially because men, in general, are less likely to discuss their health concerns and fears. Let your loved one know that you are available to talk, listen, and share concerns. At the same time, don’t demand that he talk about his feelings if he is reluctant to do so.

Encourage him to take an active role in selecting his treatment.

There are many prostate cancer treatment options, and many of them are associated with serious side effects. Your loved one may be tempted to rush his treatment decision out of a desire to remove the cancer thinking that there are no other options, but this may not be necessary.  It is important to encourage your loved one to learn about his options and to understand that his treatment decision should be as informed as possible and that it should be made on his terms. One tool that can help him to more accurately assess the risk of his cancer is the Oncotype DX prostate cancer test, which looks at the genes within his individual tumor.  

Help him to consider active surveillance if he has low-risk prostate cancer.

If your loved one has early-stage, localized, low or very low-risk prostate cancer, he can consider regular, careful monitoring instead of immediate, invasive treatment. In this way he can delay, or avoid altogether, the life-altering side effects of many prostate cancer treatments.  

Be part of his treatment.

Go with him to doctor’s appointments and tests, if he is open to the idea. Take notes during the appointments so that you don’t miss any important information or advice. Find out what the available treatment options are, and look at the pros and cons of each. Ask questions and get a second opinion. Once a course of care has been decided, help your loved one follow it as closely as possible.  

Seek outside help from a support group.

You may find it helpful to talk with others who are facing the same challenges and experiences. Resources for finding local support groups, as well as online discussion groups, are listed below. Although prostate cancer exacts a high emotional toll, you can find information online to help you cope with issues such as sexual dysfunction, urinary incontinence and anxiety about the future.  

Take care of yourself.

In order to take care of your loved one, you need to first take care of yourself. Make sure you maintain a healthy lifestyle, including getting enough sleep, exercise, and good nutrition. Talking to friends can help you emotionally, and you may want to look into yoga or meditation to help you relax. 

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