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For Caregivers: Family and Friends

Prostate cancer does not only affect the person diagnosed but also the people around them including partners, family and friends. There may be many questions and emotions arising from a diagnosis including what it is, what it means for your loved one, and what to do next.

When diagnosed, your loved ones may react emotionally which may express itself as sadness, fear, anger or stress. Some may react to a diagnosis by  being numb, have a delayed reaction, or withdrawing from others. Both you and your loved one may feel helpless and confused. During this time, it is important to:

Take Time

During such a time it is important to be patient, be gentle and take time for yourselves to deal with this new “normal”. Remember that how you both feel and act may fluctuate day to day and it’s okay.

Find Support

Find other family members and trusted friends that you both can talk to, ask help from, and to stand by you and your loved one during their journey. Refer your loved one to support groups, health professionals or groups to build a strong support network for them. Providing emotional support is just as important as navigating through screening and treatment.

Speak Up

At an appropriate time, speak gently with your loved one about how they are feeling and how you feel, and how you wish to support them through the entire process. Ask to be included in their journey, but remember to respect their choices. It may feel difficult to talk about sexual intimacy, but by listening with non judgment, showing compassion, and reassuring you still love them you can likely navigate through this conversation.

Take Care

Beyond words, being there for your loved one may be expressed through spending time with them, doing physical activities together, making food for them or other actions to express your support for them. 

Be a Team

Remember to have a team mindset for your loved one. This is a challenging journey that is difficult to navigate alone which is why partnering with family, trusted friends and others (support groups, health professionals, community) is so important to support your loved one.