When a patient gets a diagnosis of advanced prostate cancer many things can change. One of those can be their relationship with their partner. There are ways to respond to this situation that can be helpful to the relationship.
What Can You Expect?
The statement “Knowledge is power” can be very apropos in this kind of circumstance. Understanding the physical and sexual side effects that could occur during or after prostate cancer treatment, will help couples be better prepared to handle them.
Your doctor can help you understand the symptoms a patient might experience and how to best manage them. It’s important that both partners understand this information.
It is very common for men who go through prostate cancer treatment have trouble getting or maintaining an erection in the first few months after treatment. On occasion these problems can be long-lasting.
Strong medicine is used in advanced prostate cancer including radiation, chemotherapy, surgery, and medications (including hormone therapy). Their side effects can include weight gain, lower libidos, fatigue and urinary incontinence. The side effects can be very upsetting to patients but there are many ways to help manage them.
Some men for example who experience erectile problems after treatments may be able to get erections with the help of medications, injections, or surgeries (such as penile implants).
Extra Affection Can Help
At a stressful time like this it’s important to focus on your relationship as a couple. Kisses and hugs and physical touch are good ways to keep the feeling of being connected. Even extra eye contact can help couples feel more in touch with each other.
Intimacy Can Come in Many Forms
During and after treatments sex may have to take a backseat and that’s to be expected. There are many ways to be sexual and couples just have to be open to new ways of looking at this issue.
There Are Pros Who Can Help
A couple’s therapist can help you and your partner if you are having trouble with sexual or emotional closeness when you’re dealing with cancer. Many men are reluctant to see a therapist, but it can be an important part of the whole treatment process/plan.
Keep The Faith It Will Get Better
Even you and your partner struggle with your relationship at times, patients need to realize that in the majority of cases it does get better and their relationship with their spouse does not have to deteriorate. In fact, when asked after treatment is finished, many couples say that dealing with prostate cancer has made their relationship stronger than ever.