Maintaining Intimacy, Relationships After Prostate Cancer Treatment
An estimated 220,000 American men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. For many of these men, treatment may involve nothing more than a monitoring approach. Others, however, may find more intense interventions are required to save their lives. When all is said and done side effects from treatment may take their toll not only on the man diagnosed with prostate cancer, but also his partner.
Researchers have been delving into the effects of post-treatment sexual dysfunction on intimacy and relationships on the whole. The findings indicate a need for healthcare providers to deliver more couples-based interventions designed to help overcome symptoms when possible and ease burdens on relationships in the process.
Men and their partners who are concerned about the impacts prostate cancer treatment may have on their relationships are urged to:
· Discuss treatment options at length – Healthcare providers should provide men and their partners with all the options available in their case to treat prostate cancer. Ideally, the option that provides the lowest side effect risks will be selected. Some men, for example, with low-risk prostate cancer that is detected early may find monitoring the condition is their best bet. Others may discover treatment is necessary, but a lower-risk option such as seed therapy may be indicated.
· Understand all the risks – Men and their partners should both be made aware of the risks associated with treatments and the options for overcoming them should they arise. In some cases, for example, erectile dysfunction may be a temporary side effect or it may be something that can be treated with medication.
· Seek counseling – Cancer takes its toll not only on patients but those who care for them. Couples are urged to seek counseling and support not only for helping maintain their relationships during and after treatment, but also to ease the stress that goes along with facing the diagnosis in general.
Prostate cancer is a common diagnosis in men, but that doesn’t make its potential side effects any easier to process. With this in mind, it’s important for men – and their significant others – to fully understand all the options, risks and supports that might be available to help them face down the disease and win with their relationships intact.
At Las Colinas Cancer Center, a Choice Cancer Care Treatment Center, our team is committed to providing the personalized, compassionate treatment that can make all the difference in cancer care.
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