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Tips From Women Who’ve Been There

Friends talking in kitchenOn making a treatment decision:

“Talk to as many doctors as you need — family doctor, urologist, surgeon, oncologist, naturopath—and investigate all avenues you feel you want to, especially if you have time before you need to decide (slow- growing cancers).”

“Make the best choice you can at the time and don’t look back with regrets afterward.”

“Go to his medical appointments with him. Write down your questions before your appointment, and if you want time for discus- sion, let the secretary know when you are booking the appointment. Write down answers. You may not remember everything that is talked about.”

“Don’t accept the recommendation of a doctor because that’s his or her favourite procedure.”

“The choice of treatment was made by my husband based on his research, other men’s experiences and the doctors’ information.”

On sharing information:

“We let all of our close family members know, initially in a phone conversation. I found it best to give technical information via email to everyone so they all got the news at the same time and we didn’t have to keep repeating it over and over.”

“Sharing with friends was a good way to get support, and also to educate others about how important it is to get tested. After this, many of my friends have convinced their husbands/partners to see their doctors and get checked out.”

“Be honest and keep family informed. This is scary for kids, and involving them makes them feel included.”

“Only share as much information with others as you feel comfortable with.”

“Be open, supportive and understanding. Seek out anyone who has had a procedure done and get as much information as possible.”

“I found it best to give technical information via an email to everyone, so they all got the news at the same time, and we did not have to keep repeating the information over and over.”

On coping:

“The most important thing is to stay positive and believe in recovery!”

“Talk about the sex part of it up front. I don’t think men have many others to talk to about this, and it is important they have your support.”

“Reaching out to people who have been down the same path is one of the most important things you can do. We went to a prostate support group; it helps to ask questions and know others are going through this. There is one for partners as well, which I recommend.”

“Be open with him and let him know you are supporting him and hanging in there with him. Respect his need for privacy at times when he seems to need it.”

“Talk about how it is affecting YOU with someone who cares about you. A prostate cancer diagnosis can have a big effect on your life too. Talking allows you to address your own concerns.”

“Take care of yourself. You are the most important person in his life and he needs you to be in good physical and mental health.””

“He suffered some mild depression with it at the beginning, but we spoke with a counselor through the cancer centre, which helped a lot.”

“For the months after the surgery, while he was getting his continence under control, it was hard on him and his confidence, but that has improved.”

“I was surprised when my husband was diagnosed — he has a very active, healthy lifestyle — and a bit angry that he had not been advised to have a PSA test earlier.”

“Going through the surgery and supporting him through these tough times has actually strengthened our relationship. I think we both appreciate each other more now.”

“Get support — we went to a prostate support group, it helps to ask questions and to know others are going through this.”

“Talk about how it is affecting you with someone you care about — it can have a big effect on your life too, and your stress levels. It also allows you to be vulnerable and address your own concerns.”

“Reaching out to friends is the most important thing you can do as many are full of information and have been down the same path — no point in suffering in silence and there is lots of good information to be gleaned and considered!”

“Be open with him and let him know that you are supporting him, and hanging in there with him. Respect his need for privacy at times when he seems to need it.”

“Learn how to handle side effects.”