One of the most beneficial ways of coping with a diagnosis of prostate cancer and subsequent treatment is to attend a local prostate cancer support group. A nationwide network of such groups can be found by clicking the icon below.
Most people feel overwhelmed when they are told they have cancer, even if the chance of cure is very high. Many different emotions arise, which can cause confusion and frequent changes of mood. Men may experience all of the feelings that are associated with being diagnosed with prostate cancer, such as fear, resentment and anger. This does not mean, however, that they are not coping with their illness. Reactions differ from one person to another- there is no right or wrong way to feel. These emotions are part of the process that many people go through in trying to come to terms with their illness. Partners, family members and friends often experience similar feelings and frequently need as much support and guidance in coping with their own feelings too.
Being given a diagnosis of penile cancer is emotionally and mentally devastating. Following diagnosis men should let your family know of any planned treatment and how it may affect them in the coming weeks or months. Although it may be hard to share this type of information many people including younger people, are, these days more likely to have some knowledge of different types of cancer and may be able to find information on a mans behalf from the internet or organisations such as Orchid.
Often the information tha ta man will be given at diagnosis will be overwhelming and they may not fully appreciate the implications of what is said until later on. It is a good idea therefore to take someone with them to their hospital appointment who can help remember the information they have been given. If men do not feel that you can talk to their family about their diagnosis they may like to contact the following organisations who may be able to offer support.
A diagnosis of cancer can have many effects not only on an individual but that individual’s whole family. It may cause emotional and psychological changes which are difficult to cope with.There is no right or wrong way of dealing with these emotions or effects, everyone is different in their coping mechanisms and may deal with their diagnosis differently.Trying to adjust life around cancer may be difficult and there may be many different issues to deal with such as work, well-being, finance and support.
Some men may find that they get all the psychological support that they need from their immediate family. However it can be difficult to “open up” honestly about concerns that they may have. Counselling is an effective way of dealing with difficult issues and your specialist team or GP should be able to direct you to relevant counseling services. For more information on counselling from NHS Choices please click here.
Talking to children
Deciding what and how much to tell children about your cancer is a very personal choice. No parent wants to tell their children they have cancer. Instead every parent wants to protect their children from life’s uncertainties. However, a diagnosis of cancer affects the whole family. Children may notice a change in routine or pick up on your tension or anxiety, even if you think you are hiding it. Therefore, it is important to consider your children’s age and maturity level. By age-appropriately talking to your children, the entire family will be better placed to cope together. Providing accurate information can be a powerful way of helping children to feel more in control of the situation. Knowing more about cancer and its treatments can take some of the fear away. Most people feel better when they know what to expect and children are no exception. Honest communication during childhood establishes a pattern for life. Being open with your children sets an example that you are willing to discuss difficult challenges and situations which can be particularly helpful during teenage years.
We have a new booklet “Talking to your children about cancer” for families affected by male cancers. Topics include why communication is important, what kind of information should be communicated to children, when and how should children be told and making sure children have the right facts. Download the booklet here. Talking to your children about cancer – for families affected by male cancers
Work and financial issues
Many men, especially younger men may have financial worries due to their employment or having time off for their treatment. A range of useful information from Macmillan Cancer can be found here. Or alternatively the Department of Work and Pensions Benefits information page here
Some alternative treatments may help men or their partners cope with side effects or the stress of treatment. For more information on NHS services, please click here.
For a range of support services that may be of benefit to men and their families please see the Macmillan Cancer website here
Last reviewed November 2019. Next review November 2020.
References available on request.