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This is a letter that we received from a recent helpline caller. It demonstrates the critical importance of support empowerment and information and how it prepares you for partnership with your medical professionals. This letter was published with permission from its author.
Bob Each shares the inspiring story of his prostate cancer journey and some practical ideas about living with the disease.
"This video is intended for the wives, husbands, partners and loved ones of men who may be at risk of having prostate cancer or who have been diagnosed with the cancer. Our aim is to help you help him navigate through what can be a complicated, confusing and anxiety ridden time.
Prostate cancer support groups can be an invaluable platform for peers exchanging questions, offering information and sharing their personal experiences with treatment options and related side effects. There is genuine empathy and unmatched credibility from interacting with others who have “been there and done that.” The collaborative format of a support group facilitates conversations among group members who are assembled with the common goal of empowering each other with relevant knowledge and best practices.
You had surgery, or radiation, or both, and you may have been doing just fine for years, enduring all the anxiety-provoking PSA tests, and regular check-ups without alarms going off. So you thought and hoped that you were cured or permanently in remission. But apparently the treatments failed to wipe out the cancer completely. Because it’s back!
When your partner is diagnosed with prostate cancer you will undoubtedly experience a tidal wave of emotions, including the devastating fear that he might die. At the same time as you are trying to get a hold on your own fears, you also want to support and reassure your partner—who is struggling with the same shock and fear. It’s a tough act to balance, and it’s only too easy to repress or ignore your own feelings and needs.
After interviewing thousands of newly-diagnosed prostate cancer patients, I have found that the first impressions of most patients about prostate cancer are almost always wrong. Why? There are several reasons.
There is no easy way to receive the news that you have cancer, but it is important to realize that prostate cancer is typically not a death sentence. In fact the vast majority of men diagnosed with prostate cancer have the low-risk form of the disease, and will live a normal life span. Even those men diagnosed with the more aggressive kind of prostate cancer have effective treatment options available to them today.