Knowledge is Power
Questions & Answers
Caregivers, Friends and
Family: What to do
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:
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 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.
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.
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.
WHAT TO DO NEXT?
If your loved one was newly or recently diagnosed with prostate cancer and this information is new to you, here are some suggested next steps.
If your loved one allows, be involved in their care and talking with their healthcare team. This may include helping to book and schedule appointments, drive them to checkups, or finding information for them. Recognize that they are still the decision maker and to respect their choices, but encourage them to seek support groups, professional services or involve others in their journey. Call the Walnut Foundation or join our Monthly Meeting.
Find Support For Yourself
As a caregiver, it is important to Self Care by taking care of your own physical, mental and emotional well-being. Have other family members or friends be involved in your loved one’s care – don’t place the entire weight of their illness solely on your shoulders. Join a support group for caregivers to speak to and learn from others who have been in your shoes.