What are some ways that friends and family can support a loved one who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer? The support and love of those close to a man with prostate cancer are extremely important.
Four Important Ways
1. Listen. Listening to a man who has recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer, is in the middle of treatment, has already been treated and is simply being monitored for recurrence of prostate cancer or any where else along the course of prostate cancer is extremely important for his emotional and physical health, as well as the emotional and physical health of his family.
Listening is often one of the most difficult things to do for family and friends of a man recently diagnosed with cancer (including prostate cancer). Often, relatives and friends want to drop everything and "fix things" by arranging appointments, reading all about the cancer online or in books and then using that information to educate the man about his disease or to plan out the perfect course of action for treating his cancer.
It is not wrong to want to get to work to improve things, but listening is an important and often overlooked service and support that you can offer. Being still and listening to the concerns and questions of your loved one can one of the most important things that you do for him.
As with any personal and sensitive conversation, what you hear while listening should stay safely within the confines of your private discussion unless you are told specifically that it can be shared with others.
Listening attentively is very important in situations like these. Being (as well as appearing) engaged in the conversation, asking questions at appropriate times and offering encouragement to share more are all important aspects of attentive listening. This type of listening facilitates freer and more complete discussion about the important issues that you are all facing.
2. Offer help with the chores of life. Prostate cancer treatment is often able to be tolerated to a fairly significant degree, but fatigue, pain and other symptoms are very common following prostate cancer treatments. Men who live alone or who have a large burden of responsibility for taking care of the chores of life can also benefit greatly from having a trusted family member or friend offer with these tasks. Getting the groceries, cooking a meal or mowing the lawn may all seem like small ways to help, but they can be very significant to a man who has just undergone treatment.
3. Help to find others with whom they can talk. Often, men who have recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer or are at any of the other stages along their journey with prostate cancer are unwilling or unable to talk to close family members or friends. They may be more amenable to seeing a professional or attending a support group for prostate cancer patients. Helping to facilitate this can potentially significantly help.
4. Look out for your own health and well being. Often family members and friends of men who have recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer will unconsciously focus all of their energies and time on their loved one. This can lead to neglect of your own health and well being. When your health and well being become neglected, your ability to help your loved could decreases considerably. Additionally, he may begin to worry about you and your health and thus turn their focus away from their own health issues – namely prostate cancer. It is important both for yourself as well as your loved one that you do not neglect your own health while you all face a prostate cancer diagnosis.