20 February 2024

Coping with a diagnosis of prostate cancer can be tough. Uncertainty about what lies ahead can bring a raft of complex emotions. Fear, anger, confusion just to name a few. 

Partners and family are often equally distressed, sometimes more so, as questions around treatment such as side effects and outcomes are raised. Other questions may arise about what the diagnosis means for them personally and the impact of all of this may have on their everyday life.

Some men face these challenges relatively alone, and isolation significantly adds to the stress of diagnosis and treatment. Many men who do have the love and support of family and friends, tend to want to protect them from the worst of their fears and uncertainties.

Seeking out peer support has many potential benefits. Research suggests that this form of support helps people to feel less alone and more connected. Many men have reported a sense of camaraderie in talking with others who have prostate cancer. Seeking out peer support enables the sharing of information about treatment, managing treatment side effects and hopefulness. 

Peer support enables men to share concerns about how a diagnosis and treatment may impact family life and work, often being able to exchange helpful ways of coping and navigating through these changes. Through feeling understood and less isolated, peer support has been shown to strengthen coping. Similarly, partners of men with prostate cancer may engage in peer support and benefit from the shared bond of their experience with other partners. 

Every man will have different ways of dealing with their diagnosis of prostate cancer and the need for support may vary between individuals and across the course of time. Being informed about which support options are available, enables you to choose the support that you’re seeking. 

Support options

For those who are seeking face to face support, there are prostate cancer support groups established at various locations around Australia where peer support is readily available. These groups provide a community of people who connect regularly to support one another. To find a group near you, visit www.pcfa.org.au/support/find-a-support group/.

Alternatively, online support may be more feasible for some men. Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia have a member-only Facebook group where men can connect regardless of where they live. The MatesCONNECT telephone-based peer support service may also be an option for some, and further information about this is located at https://www.pcfa.org.au/support/matesconnect-phone-based-peer-support/.

With these options in mind, please remember that you are not alone. For further information about peer support or to talk further with a nurse about prostate cancer information and support, the PCFA Specialist Telenursing Service can be contacted on 1800 22 00 99.