Wives Of Many Prostate Cancer Sufferers Made Ill Or Feel Undermined By The Disease
- European Association of Urology
- Many wives of advanced prostate cancer sufferers feel that their lives are being undermined by their husbands illness, with nearly half reporting that their own health suffered. In addition a focus subgroup has revealed that many feel isolated and fearful, and worry about the role change in their lives as their husbands cancer advances. This study, developed with the wives of men with metastatic prostate cancer who were being treated with hormone therapy, is amongst the first carried out on how prostate cancer affects the partners of sufferers.
Many wives of advanced prostate cancer sufferers feel that their lives are being undermined by their husbands illness, with nearly half reporting that their own health suffered. In addition a focus subgroup has revealed that many feel isolated and fearful, and worry about the role change in their lives as their husbands cancer advances. This study, developed with the wives of men with metastatic prostate cancer who were being treated with hormone therapy, is amongst the first carried out on how prostate cancer affects the partners of sufferers. It was presented yesterday at the EAU conference in Copenhagen.
The researchers randomly selected 8 women for in-depth, focus-group style interviews aimed at encouraging the women to express how they are being affected by their partners illness.
Only departmental funds were used for this research.
Our Lives Have Changed Forever
Cancer has changed our lives forever. In some ways, our lives have changed for the better. You wouldnt think a person with a loved one who has terminal cancer would say that, huh? Well, for this moment it is true. We are eating healthier, most of the time. Occasionally, we still eat junk food but, trust me we are much more aware what goes into our bodies. We planted a garden! I do not have a green thumb but, I am trying! It is kind of nice to go out there every day and water the garden. We also planted pear trees! hehe I planted four! My husband is like, What are we going to do with all those pears?! I told him not to worry, I am sure I will kill at least three of the trees.
We are traveling and doing more. You quickly realize that tomorrow is really not guaranteed in any way. I know, this is true for everybody. Any of us can die in a car wreck, heart attack, stroke, robbery, bad weather, and so on. But, when a doctor tells you there are only 8 years left, it makes it so much more real! Travis loves kayaking and I try to encourage him to go as often as he wants. We have started hanging out with friends more often and going down to the beaches close to us every chance we get. We are currently planning a family vacation. Travis and I are actually going somewhere for our anniversary this year! We never had a honeymoon.
Watchful Waiting Vs Active Surveillance
To understand your choices, he explained, its key to know the difference between the two options for men if they do not seek immediate treatmentwatchful waiting and active surveillance.
While both strategies entail not being treated immediately, they are very different. The goal ofwatchful waiting isnt to cure or even treat the disease. Its not a good option for men with low-riskcancer. Its generally for men who, because of advanced age or a medical condition, are likely to die from something else before prostate cancer becomes a mortal threat. If the disease causes symptoms such as pain, these are managed, but the goal isnt cure.
Men with low-risk cancer, on the other hand, are good candidates for active surveillance. The goal here is to cure the cancerif it needs treatment at all. In many cases, these cancers dont even progress, so they dont really need treatmentand may never need treatment. With active surveillance, Dr. Hu explained, treatment is deferred until the time that there is evidence that the disease is progressing.
Current guidelines recommend active surveillance for most men with low-risk prostate cancer.
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The Top 7 Signs Of Advanced Prostate Cancer
In the early stages, you may not notice any symptoms related to prostate cancer. This is why screenings are important. Symptoms can sometimes be noticed for the first time when the cancer advances.
Advanced prostate cancer, also called metastatic cancer, means the cancer has spread to other areas of your body beyond your prostate gland. The most common areas for prostate cancer to spread are your bladder, rectum, and bones. It can also spread to your lymph nodes, liver, lungs, and other body tissues.
Whether youve just been diagnosed or youre in treatment, its also important to know the signs of advanced cancer. Cancer can behave differently depending on your genetics, so not every person will experience the same symptoms in the same way.
Read on to learn more about the seven top symptoms of advanced prostate cancer and how to spot them.
Advanced Prostate Cancer: Next Steps As A Couple
According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 250,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2021. In those with advanced prostate cancer, the tumor has usually spread to other parts of the body, such as the bones or lymph nodes. Doctors classify this type of cancer as stage IV, or advanced.
For many men, advanced prostate cancer cannot be treated successfully. Patients with advanced disease have the additional burden of being told theyre not curable, says Dr. Morris. Both the patient and his partner are forced to think about a finite life span and issues around mortality. Thats when its most important that they accept the diagnosis and turn to each other for emotional support.
Couples react in many different ways when given a diagnosis of advanced prostate cancer, and you and your partner must do whats right for you. Some join as a team, pulling together to face the consequences of the diagnosis. Others may become angry or refuse to accept the diagnosis. If you and your partner are experiencing such a reaction, counseling might be of help so the two of you can find ways to communicate and work together.
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Diagnosed With Prostate Cancer Four Big Mistakes Men Are Making
Its not the news you wanted to hear from your doctorYou have prostate cancer.
Fortunately, as with 97% of men diagnosed with this cancer, it hasnt spread to other parts of your body.
Even better news: Your cancer is classified as low risk, which means your risk of dying from it over the next 15 years is less than 1%.
Now you have to decide what to do. Treatment such as surgery, hormones or radiation entails side effect risks such as erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence. These days, in a big change in medical practice, more and more men who are newly diagnosed with low-risk prostate cancer have options that entail not seeking immediate treatment.
But heres the problem: Many men make the wrong choices, according to a recent study. Heres what you need to know to make the right ones.
What Causes Prostate Cancer
Experts arent sure why some cells in the prostate gland become cancerous . Genetics appear to play a role. For example:
- Youre two to three times more likely to get prostate cancer if your father, brother or son has the disease.
- Inherited mutated breast cancer genes and other gene mutations contribute to a small number of prostate cancers.
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How Often Do Men Get Diagnosed With Prostate Cancer
What can happen? About 1 out of every 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime, making it the most common cancer in men. Prostate cancer affects the walnut-shaped gland that wraps around a mans urethra. Treatments like surgery, radiation, and hormone therapy remove or destroy the cancer.
So Why Are We Talking About This Now
My husband and I know a lot more about prostate cancer than we did a couple of years ago. For one thing, we know that it is one of the most common male cancers. We also know that while this is his cancer, going through this experience has had an impact on our life as a couple.
Im writing about this now because the chances of a Beyond 50 woman learning that her beloved has been diagnosed with prostate cancer are significant. We hope our experience will be of help to others who will be facing the same situation.
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Does My Husband Have Prostate Cancer
1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in his lifetime. As a concerned partner, you worry that your husband or companion could be that one. Maybe your partner doesnt go to the doctor enough or maybe he has a mindset of invincibility. Maybe youve noticed a shift in his health and behavior.
You ask him to go to the doctor, but in true husband fashion, he wont go.
So what should you be on the lookout for to know if your husband is at risk of prostate cancer? What do you need to know about prostate cancer to be alert for your partners health?
Why Does Prostate Cancer Happen
The causes of prostate cancer are largely unknown. But certain things can increase your risk of developing the condition.
The chances of developing prostate cancer increase as you get older. Most cases develop in men aged 50 or older.
For reasons not yet understood, prostate cancer is more common in men of African-Caribbean or African descent, and less common in Asian men.
Men whose father or brother were affected by prostate cancer are at slightly increased risk themselves.
Recent research also suggests that obesity increases the risk of prostate cancer.
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Take Care Of Yourself
While caring for a loved one, it is easy to focus all of your attention and energy on his needs. However, if you become emotional drained, your health and well-being may be negatively impacted and your ability to provide care will be compromised.
Maintaining your own health and emotional fortitude will allow you to provide the support your partner needs. Making sure you get enough sleep, exercise and eat well will help you stay healthy. To maintain your emotional well-being, turn to friends and family in your support system. Make time for hobbies and other enjoyable activities.
A prostate cancer diagnosis affects you and your partner. So be aware of the emotional toll your partners cancer is having on you.
Ready to meet our cancer specialists?
People With Limited Information On Family Medical History
You may not know your family medical history.
Risk assessment tools such as the Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool can estimate your breast cancer risk without this information. However, it will be less accurate without your family history details.
Talking with your health care provider about other risk factors for breast cancer can help you learn about your risk even if you dont have information on your family medical history.
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How Old Was My Husband When He Died From Prostate Cancer
He was young too 65 when he died, 59 when diagnosed. Yes, he had a PSA test, and his PSA rose every year and they told him to wait. Then they told him to have a biopsy. They didnt find it on the biopsies for two more years, although he still had a rising PSA. The biopsies were cancer free until they werent.
For Gay And Bisexual Men
A partner who is usually insertive, or top, during sex may want to consider changing to receive anal penetration, as sex may be difficult without a full erection.
In the case of a prostatectomy, a partner who usually receives penetration may find that sex is less pleasurable, as the prostate gland usually contributes to the sensation.
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Does Overdiagnosis Lead To Overtreatment Of Older Men
The widespread use of PSA screening has led to an increase in the diagnosis and treatment of early localized prostate cancer. Data from the US Cancer of the Prostate Strategic Urological Research Endeavor database suggest a significant decrease in risk in the last 2 decades in the United States, with more patients being identified with low-risk disease at diagnosis, but the role of active treatment of low- and intermediate-risk disease in elderly men remains controversial.
The median time from diagnosis to death from prostate cancer for men with nonpalpable disease is approximately 17 years., Considering that the US male life expectancy at the age of 65 years is 16 years, aggressive therapy will hardly extend life expectancy of older men with no palpable prostate cancer at the time of diagnosis. Twenty to 30% of prostate cancers detected by PSA screening programs show Gleason scores of 6 or lower and, thus, are not poorly differentiated and have volumes smaller than 0.5 cm3.
Histologic evaluation of radical prostatectomy specimens demonstrated that about 20% to 30% of cancers are small volume, show low Gleason scores, and are consequently clinically harmless., Many of these cancers pose little threat to life, especially for older men. Has PSA screening resulted in prostate cancer overdiagnosis?
Know The Lingo: Gleason Scores Psa Counts And Dre
If your beloved is over 50, he should be screened for prostate cancer annually. The most common screen for prostate cancer is a PSA test. Unfortunately, the PSA tests can be unreliable. As much as your man may dislike it, his doctor should also perform a DRE, Digital Rectal Examination .
My husbands PSA numbers were completely normal. However, during the DRE, his doctor felt a small lump. A subsequent biopsy showed it was cancerous.
When prostate cancer is found, testing will be done to determine the patients Gleason Score to see how aggressive the cancer is.
Even though my husbands PSA scores were normal, his cancer was moderately aggressive. The prostate needed to be removed to prevent the cancer from spreading. If not for that uncomfortable digital exam, it might already have done so and we would be facing much less favorable odds of survival.
I cannot stress it strongly enough do not rely on the PSA test alone. A digital examination is very important in helping to detect prostate cancer.
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During And After Cancer Treatment
Many times sexual problems or side effects that affect your sexuality happen during treatment, and might continue for a while afterward. It’s important to know what precautions might be needed at certain times. It’s also important to report any side effects while you’re getting treatment and during follow-up visits, as well as any changes you notice in sexual desire and function. Ask questions about them, because sometimes these problems come and go, and sometimes they can last.
Questions to ask during treatment about safety and protective precautions might be needed, such as:
- If you are getting certain types of radiation therapy where is it unsafe to be physically close to your partner.
- If you are getting certain types of chemo, targeted therapy, or immunotherapy that might be released in your body fluids, including sweat, saliva, and semen.
- If you are getting a treatment that might cause birth defects if your partner gets pregnant.
- If you have decreased white blood cells that cause you to have weakened immunity and make you more prone to infection.
- If you have a decreased platelet count that can make you prone to easy bruising or bleeding.
Other questions you might have during and after treatment could be related to:
Is There A Link Between Sex And Prostate Cancer
However, the study at several medical schools, shows that men with high sexual activity and frequent ejaculation are at lower risk of prostate cancer. Study shows that men who have in average 4 to 7 ejaculation per week up to the age of 70 are 36% less at risk of prostate cancer comparing to the one who have 2 to 3 times sex per week.
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Breast Cancer Screening For Women With A Strong Family History Of Breast Or Ovarian Cancer
There are special breast cancer screening guidelines for women with a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer.
If you have a greater than 20 percent lifetime risk of breast cancer based mainly on your family history of breast or ovarian cancer, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommends you get a :
- Clinical breast exam every 6-12 months, but not before age 21
- Mammogram every year, starting 10 years younger than the youngest breast cancer case in your family, but not before age 30
- Breast MRI every year, starting 10 years younger than the youngest breast cancer case in your family, but not before age 25
Learn more about breast cancer screening recommendations for men at higher risk.
Prostate Cancer And Marriage The Start Of Great Sex
Annually, over one million men worldwide receive a diagnosis of prostate cancer and more than 300,000 will lose their lives to it. For those men battling prostate cancer are married or in a relationship, cancer-induced impotence can lead to marital or relationship breakdown. Consider the scenario when a couple first receives the news that the man has prostate cancer. His partners typical reaction is worry about how much longer he will live. Yet, for many men, the biggest concern is the possibility of losing their erectile function. These are mismatched priorities that can lead to big problems in the bedroom.
We discovered that impotence is not the end of sexual intimacy. In fact, it can be the start of even greater sexual fulfillment. However, lets first examine why impotence can have such a devastating impact to any marriage.
Most men equate impotence with a loss of their masculinity. The belief that a hard erection is a necessary hallmark of manhood comes from entrenched cultural influences and evolutionary wiring. If they cant perform sexually, according to procreative dictates, they must be broken. This is a belief that all too often causes men to feel they are no longer men, nor worthy of their mates affection. This creates an environment in which it can be difficult for any marriage to survive.
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