February 6, 2009

Caring for a Loved One Diagnosed with Prostate Cancer

When your spouse, partner, companion, or family member is diagnosed with prostate cancer, the disease affects the entire family—not just the man facing the diagnosis. While the patient experiences cancer in his body, those closest to him have a cancer experience that is also very real.

Issues that often develop for companions and caregivers include the following.

Diagnosis. Diagnosis can be a very stressful and emotional time for the patient and those people who stand beside him.

Treatment. Treatment can be a long and challenging process. Simply becoming aware of the treatment options and then making a decision can be overwhelming in itself. What is your role in treatment decisions and inhis course of treatment?

Living with prostate cancer. You may not have cancer in your body, yet you are experiencing cancer. You experience the stress, uncertainty, and anxiety just like he does, and this affects your body’s well-being, too. How do you cope with the uncertainty and the interruption in your life?

Recovery. Every patient hopes for recovery. After prostate cancer, how do you return to “normal”? Has “normal” changed? What about your relationship? Your outlook? Your hopes?

Advanced disease. Sometimes recovery is not possible, and the cancer progresses. Sadly, for some, thoughts of recovery turn to questions of palliative care and hospice. How do you respond to these decisions and make peace with the potential outcome?

Six Tips for Caregivers

If you are faced with these issues and are feeling overwhelmed when confronting a prostate cancer diagnosis, what can you do as a companion or caregiver? Consider these six tips:

 Learn about prostate cancer and the treatments your loved one is undergoing.

  1. Understand that there is more than one way to treat prostate cancer. Even two men following the same treatment regimen can get different results.
  2. Know that feeling confused, lonely, scared, angry, neglected, guilty, resentful, and lost are all common emotions for caregivers and family members.
  3. Understand that others in your situation have experienced similar feelings.
  4. Deal with your feelings by admitting that you have them and by talking with someone you trust.
  5. Keep trying and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

For more information on prostate cancer from the caregivers perspective, visit Us Too International at www.ustoo.org. Us TOO recognizes the vitally important role that spouses, partners, companions, and family members play in the overall well-being and longevity of prostate cancer patients as well as how important functioning as a team can be.

Copyright © 2010 CancerConsultants Prostate Cancer Information Center. All Rights Reserved.

Tags: Prostate Cancer, Uncategorized