How To Support Someone With Cancer

Photo of caregiver for cancer patient offering prostate cancer support

How To Support A Loved One Diagnosed With Prostate Cancer

A prostate cancer diagnosis can be devastating for both the person diagnosed and their loved ones. As a partner, caretaker, family member or friend of someone facing this diagnosis, it’s important that they know you’re there to support them on the journey ahead. But, how do you navigate those difficult conversations about prostate cancer? And what actions are going to help them most throughout their prostate cancer journey?

We’ll discuss how you can provide both emotional and practical support throughout their diagnosis and treatment. By understanding their individual needs, validating their feelings and providing access to helpful resources as needed, you can help your loved one work towards recovery.

How to Support Your Loved One with Their Diagnosis

Attending Medical Appointments

The process of a prostate cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming and anxiety-inducing, so being there to advocate for your loved one can be very helpful. There are several stages involved with a prostate cancer diagnosis, so it’s a good idea to learn as much as you can about the process. This will allow you to ask their doctor relevant questions and take helpful notes during the appointments.

What to Say to Someone who has Been Diagnosed with Cancer

Everyone is different, but most people appreciate having a sounding board for their questions and concerns as they come to terms with their prostate cancer diagnosis. When your loved one receives their results, it’s important that you give them your full attention and listen without judgment. It’s a good idea to validate their feelings about the diagnosis and ask their permission before raising sensitive topics.  

This can also be a good time to offer specific, practical support, including doing household chores, helping with admin or preparing meals. There’s some evidence to suggest that eating certain vegetables may help reduce the risk of cancer progressing in men on active surveillance for prostate cancer – read our blog to find out more.

Try not to appear overly positive when speaking to your loved one about the diagnosis, as this can be interpreted as making light of the situation. Every cancer journey is different, so making comparisons to other cancer experiences can also be unhelpful. Although you may feel like a burden, don’t avoid contact with your loved one. Remember that a sympathetic ear is one of the best gifts you can give them at this stage in the journey.

Supporting Your Loved One During Cancer Treatment

What to Expect from Prostate Cancer Treatment

Depending on the stage and grade of the cancer, treatment options can range from surgery to chemotherapy. Throughout treatment and for some time afterwards, your loved one may experience side effects such as fatigue, urinary or sexual dysfunction, and changes in bowel habits. This can of course take a large physical and emotional toll on them.

How to Support Someone with Cancer Treatment

Each treatment option comes with its own set of risks and benefits, so it’s helpful to research each option and discuss them openly with your loved one’s healthcare team. This will also help you empathise with your loved one as they undergo treatment.  

There are several thoughtful gifts you can buy your loved one to make the treatment process a little easier. These include:

  • Books and magazines
  • Blankets
  • Hand-held games and activities
  • Socks and slippers
  • Ginger candy to help ease nausea

Confitex for Men Long Trunks with Extra Absorbency and Short Trunks with Extra Absorbency can also be helpful during this time as many men experience urinary incontinence after prostate cancer treatment. This bladder leakage can be quite heavy at first, so immediately after prostate cancer surgery they may need more protection. But as it reduces over time many men find our washable absorbent underwear are a comfortable and convenient way of managing ongoing mild-to-moderate urine leaks. Read our blog for one man’s experience of finding the right absorbent hygiene products for prostate incontinence.

Caring for the Caregiver

As a caregiver for a cancer patient, it’s essential to also be aware of your own physical and emotional needs. After all, you can’t provide the best care for your loved one if you don’t take care of yourself first.

Important self-care practices include maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine, finding relaxation techniques that work for you, and giving yourself permission to take breaks when needed. Don’t be afraid to seek support from others, whether that’s through counselling, prostate cancer support groups, or simply talking to friends and family.  

Remember to communicate openly with your loved one’s healthcare team and to seek additional resources if you need them. By taking care of yourself both physically and mentally, you can be a strong support system for your loved one throughout their cancer journey.

If you are supporting a loved one with prostate cancer, you can access helpful resources from organisations including your local Prostate Cancer Foundation. You can also check out our Real-Life Reads to learn about other men’s prostate cancer journeys.

The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Every man’s circumstances are different, so consult your doctor for advice. 

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