Psychological Effects of Prostate Cancer

In most cases the diagnosis of Prostate Cancer comes as a shock, and for most, this will be one of the greatest challenges that a man will face as an individual and as a partner. A Prostate Cancer diagnosis, or pre and post treatment can effect on the man’s work, family, relationship, social life and self-esteem.

Examples of the difficulties experience following a prostate cancer diagnosis (including after treatment) can include:

Facing your mortality?

Addressing the changes to sexual functioning and performance?

How will you deal with your mates/friends having a healthy sex life?

Who will you tell and what will you tell them?

How will you fend off unwanted questions and/or comments?

How will you relieve the stress?

How will you keep your relationship strong?

How will you deal with some of the potential side-effects of treatment?

How will you find strength and strategies to plan ahead?

Avoiding damage to self-esteem and self-confidence.

Playing the wait and see game?

Navigating your way through treatment options?

There are some practical things you can do to cope better with the experience of Prostate Cancer. This involves focusing on thoughts, feelings and behaviours that may be of concern, enabling you, as an individual or a couple, to gain a new perspective and understanding. You may learn to challenge old patterns of thinking, explore a wide range of alternatives and practice different ways of behaving.

Research indicates more and more that stress and anxiety can impact on the progression of a person’s health condition, so it is therefore vital to address concerns at an early stage, to maintain a balanced outlook and relationship despite treatment. The resulting stress of treatment, such as incontinence, erectile dysfunction, dry orgasm, etc, can impact on people in different ways and can greatly affect a person’s mood, daily functioning, and coping ability. Counselling provides an ongoing source of non-judgmental support at a time when you may feel highly vulnerable.

The journey through the prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment can take their toll both physical and emotional. Forming realistic expectations of outcomes, and how to prepare for and manage the roller coaster of emotions can be a challenge. It is common to fear that being counselled means there is something wrong with you or that it confirms a weakness and inability to handle treatment. However, nothing could be further from the truth! It takes strength to reach out for help. Dave Wells facilitated a prostate cancer support group for 6 years and his experience and sensitivity can help to equip you with the skills needed to manage emotions, cope better with day-to-day stresses, identify and adopt strategies to improve/maintain sexual and personal quality, and ultimately prevent long-term problems such as depression or anxiety.