When a loved one is diagnosed with prostate cancer, he may experience a range of emotions. Fear, confusion, and even anger are all quite common in the face of this news. You may very well experience many of these feelings yourself as you will both be living with his disease and its treatment. Your role as caregiver is important. So, you shouldn’t hesitate to seek counseling if it will help you, and him, cope more effectively with the situation and enhance your ability to provide him with the best support that you can give. There is much that you can do to help your loved one and the information provided is for those who are caring for someone who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Knowing the symptoms and treatment options as well as outcomes of the disease can help your loved one tremendously. Understanding the symptoms and side effects of treatment can help you better understand how to be the best support system for your loved one. By educating yourselves, both your loved one and you can focus on next steps and how to move forward.
Focus on Communication
Let him know you are interested in talking and listening to him, then listen to his feelings without judging or interrupting him. But don’t demand that he talk about his feelings if he doesn’t feel it would be helpful.
Go To His Doctor Appointments With Him
It’s important that you’re involved in your loved one’s course of treatment. Accompany him to his doctor appointments so that you can help him remember all the doctor’s instructions. Write down any questions you or he may have in between appointments, so you can ask at his next doctor’s visit. It’s always helpful to have a notepad handy.
Participate In His Treatment
Learning about prostate cancer and the different treatments for it will help you and your loved one make informed decisions. The stage of the cancer (how widespread it is) is one of the most important factors in determining which prostate cancer therapy to choose. Another factor may be how disruptive that therapy will be to his life. It is up to your loved one and his doctor to decide on his treatment. But, as his caregiver, you may also be asked to help choose a treatment plan.
Take Care Of Yourself
This may be one of the hardest things for you to do. Caring for someone with prostate cancer brings with it lots of stress and demands. Your personal health and happiness can go a long way toward your loved one’s well-being. Remember, you must also take care of your own needs in order to be at your best for your loved one. Below is a list of simple suggestions to help you take better care of yourself:
- Stay healthy: Make time for regular exercise, have regular healthy meals and get plenty of rest.
- Spend some quiet time alone or with friends
- Pursue your own interests and hobbies
- Make time for family
Join A Support Group
You can join a group for partners, caregivers or loved ones of prostate cancer patients, where you can share your experiences with others in the same situation. Joining a support group is a great way to help you be a supportive caregiver and partner.