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Supporting a Loved One with Prostate Cancer

by | Apr 19, 2017

A disease like prostate cancer—which only men develop—comes with a unique challenge in the fact that men can benefit from support, but are often reluctant to ask for help. No matter if it’s something innately wired or learned behavior, men tend to be quite stubborn in this regard, especially when it comes to medical concerns.

Your loved one probably doesn’t like to talk about his health, yet this is an important part of prostate cancer support. A cancer diagnosis brings with it an array of emotions and feelings (which is not always comfortable territory for a man…), including anxiety, depression, and especially fear.

When he does talk—either on his own or with some gentle encouragement—you want to be there for him in the best possible way. If you are going to be additional strength for him, you need to be strong yourself.

Cancer doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Sure, the disease may hit an affected individual hardest, but it also reaches out and touches the lives of friends and loved ones. You may very well find yourself experiencing the anxiety, depression, and fear as well. And you will invest a tremendous amount of mental and emotional energy, even during times you wouldn’t expect to. Knowing how to handle these emotions is essential for your ability to be a source of support.

No matter your relationship—spouse, sibling, son or daughter, etc.—to the man diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer, there are things you should do for yourself so you can be there for him.

Maintaining your own health and emotional balance will better allow you to provide the support your loved one needs during challenging times. This means doing things like eating well, getting enough sleep, and staying physically active. It also means getting support for yourself from family, friends, and groups like we have at the Prostate Cancer Survivors Association of West Michigan.

Doing all of that is instrumental in helping you to maintain a positive outlook and be a pillar of strength for when it’s needed.

When a loved one goes through a difficult period—like after a prostate cancer diagnosis and during treatment—it can affect both of you emotionally. Remember to take care of yourself so you can support your loved one when he needs your support. If you want help with this, you may wish to reach out to our association. Please feel free to give us a call at Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids at (616) 453-8300, or send us an email to

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