Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer found in men, and hearing that your spouse has prostate cancer is scary and perplexing. Knowing your spouse’s treatment options, and how you can help, will get you through it together.
After the Diagnosis
It’s critical to make sure the lines of communication are open, between you and your husband, as well as with the physician who is treating your husband. As a caregiver your next step is to start researching and learn all you can about the disease. This will take the unknowns out of the equation and give you a better idea of what you and your spouse are facing.
At Doctor Appointments
Plan to accompany your spouse to each doctor appointment. Before you go in, write a list of questions together, and bring a notebook for taking notes. It’s important to have each other there to double-check what you think you hear so nothing falls through the cracks. You can also ask the doctor to draw pictures or show you an illustration if it will help you both understand. Ask your spouse if he’d like time alone with the doctor to ask personal questions – things he might prefer to ask by himself.
To further support your spouse, volunteer to take on the task of requesting copies of test results and other medical records and shuttling the necessary information to the right medical professional.
Being the person your spouse can rely on to talk to about his journey with prostate cancer is invaluable, but don’t forget to talk about the day-to-day stuff, too – things that don’t involve the “c” word. Maybe designate a time of day, such as dinner, where the two of you don’t talk about cancer. That way you’ll feel there is another life beyond the diagnosis.
Last but not least, take care of yourself, too. Eat right, get your medical checkups, and get some exercise. You need to be at your best to support your spouse.
Although prostate cancer is the second most common cancer found in men, it can be screened through a simple blood test. Plan now to attend “Know Your Stats,” an educational breakfast presented by Gwinnett Medical Center on December 6, 2012, 7:30 to 9 a.m., at the 1818 Club in Duluth. You’ll learn the latest about diagnosing and treating prostate cancer, and men age 40 and over will receive a voucher for a free screening. Although “Know Your Stats” is free, registration is required and space is limited, so register early at gmc-rsvp.org.