Maybe you are reading this blog post today because, along with more than 200,000 American men this year, you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer—and you have concerns about your family because you have become a member of what many call the reluctant brotherhood—a club nobody wants to belong to. Or maybe you’re in the reluctant sisterhood, and you’re reading this blog post so you can help your husband, father, brother, son, or a friend. In any case, we’re glad you that you have found your way here, because we want you to know that the world of prostate cancer is full of hope. More men are being diagnosed earlier than ever before, and more families are finding ways to help the men in their lives as they are being treated or cured of this disease.
As a family member, you will be happy to know that there are many ways that you can help. First of all, it’s good to know that patient and family education are key components in the care of the prostate cancer patient. The positive outcomes of patient and family education increase self-care activities that help families improve their loved one’s care and treatment. Through education, you can help with the fears and misconceptions about treatment that you’ll need to address, and you can do this most efficiently by creating a family educational plan. When families and the prostate cancer patient get information about the disease and the treatment, it helps them increase their coping and gain a sense of control over a virtually uncontrollable situation.
It is also important for you to consider that your educational needs will change throughout the cancer journey and its different phases. For example, there are five different phases that you will come to understand: the diagnostic phase, treatment phase, rehabilitation and continuing care phase, cancer survivorship or remission phase, and the recurrence or advanced disease phase.
One of the most important prostate cancer phases is the cancer survivorship phase that begins at the time of diagnosis and continues throughout the treatment journey. Both the prostrate cancer patient and you will more than likely experience fear of cancer recurrence and wonder how you want to navigate through this challenging time in their life. Therefore, it is important to seek outside help and get information to learn how you will live with the limitations and the losses that occur when treatment is being administered. As a family member or a wife, you will want to help your loved one deal with any isolation they may be feeling or even what is commonly referred to as survivor guilt.
Thank goodness for people like you—you are the helpers and caring loved ones that the prostrate cancer patients cannot live without.