How to Care for a Partner With Prostate Cancer
The whole world can seem to change in an instant when a you find out that your partner has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Both of you will probably feel overwhelmed, and afraid. It will most likely be a confusing time for both of you.
The Best Thing to do is to Learn What to Expect
You both should take steps to educate yourself about the disease. In this case knowledge can certainly be power. There are many possible side effects of both the cancer and the types of treatments that you should be prepared for. These can include:
A man can be rendered infertile due to prostate cancer treatment, whether it be surgery or radiation therapy. For partners that want to have children after treatment, if is recommended to investigate options such as sperm banking pre-treatment.
Sex life changes.
It is common for men to experience erectile dysfunction (impotence) after treatment for prostate cancer. It may be temporary or permanent depending on the treatment.
Changes in urination/bowel issues.
Lack of control/urinary incontinence can be a common after prostate cancer treatment. Bowel issues such as diarrhea can be long-term effects of some kinds of radiation therapy.
Numerous side effects can occur from the hormone therapy used to treat prostate cancer. These side effects can include weight gain, and muscle loss, fatigue, low sex drive, hot flashes, and brittle bones.
Subtle hormonal changes could be evident as well including memory and multi-tasking difficulties. For example, hormone deprivation therapy can potentially have some subtle, cognitive (thought process) effects in the men prescribed this treatment. The knowledge you can gain about the types of side effects that can occur, and what you can do about them, can empower you and help you and your partner know when/how to take action.
Prostate Cancer Caregiving: More Tips
Your partner will need you to be there to listen. Make sure to encourage him in his treatments by going to doctor’s appointments, treatment sessions, and tests. Make sure that he knows that you want to be a part of this process with him. You are the best person to encourage him to look forward to the life he can enjoy once his treatments are completed and successful.
You Are Important Too
Some find it helpful to join a group for caregivers of prostate cancer patients. It can be a good place to share your experiences with others.