Being a caregiver or family member of a man with prostate cancer may mean that your life will change alongside of his, in both big and small ways.
Prostate Cancer is a Family Disease
When the man you care for has been newly diagnosed, you share in his fear, concerns, and anxiety. You may share in the financial cost of treatment and time spent at doctor’s offices and appointments. If he has advanced prostate cancer, which is frequently treated like a chronic disease, you may have to be active in scheduling taking pills and follow-up appointments.
Many men choose to change their diets after a prostate cancer diagnosis. This may mean that the family also changes their diets in order to make it easier for him. Find a primer on prostate-healthy foods and diets here.
Sometimes, during the recovery period or even for a while afterwards, a man diagnosed with prostate cancer may not be capable of the same physical activities that he was capable of before. You or your friends and family may have to take on some of his share of household tasks and chores and have him take on the less intensive tasks.
Side Effects: A Couple’s Problem
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is one of the most common side effects of prostate cancer treatment. This can be hard on both the man and his intimate partner. See our tips on talking to your partner about ED.
There are a few ways to manage ED through options such as pills, injections, and the like. If none of those are appealing, another option is to change how you approach intimacy as a couple.
One inevitable and permanent consequence of prostate removal is infertility. This may impact your plans to grow or start your family together. For some ideas on how to get around this side effect, see our infertility page.
Remember, no matter how cancer complicates your lives, the best way to decide how you will move forward is by talking to each other. This is difficult for you as well as for him, so make sure that you are active in taking care of yourself.