Talking to your partner about his prostate health
It’s not an easy conversation to have, but speaking to your partner about his prostate health will help him feel supported and heard. Men have a 1 in 6 chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer, highlighting the importance for men and their partners to educate themselves about the disease, treatment options, and how it can impact their life and marriage.
What is prostate cancer?
The prostate is located below the urinary bladder and surrounds the urethra. Its main function is to produce fluid that nourishes and transports the sperm. Prostate cancer is a malignant tumor that typically begins in the outer area of the prostate. Male hormones, such as testosterone, stimulates cancer growth. The cause of prostate cancer is unknown.
Potential warning signs of prostate cancer include:
- Blood in urine or semen
- Frequent urination, usually at night
- Difficulty starting and/or stopping urination
- Pain or burning when urinating or ejaculating
- Sudden erectile dysfunction
- Weak urine flow
- Pain near the prostate area while sitting
- Unexplained weight loss
- Swelling in the lower body and pain in the back and hips
Not all men experience symptoms, and the symptoms listed above can be due to different health issues.
What you can do to support your partner after a prostate cancer diagnosis
Understand treatment options
Start with learning more about prostate cancer and the different types of treatments available. This will be helpful when supporting your partner in making decisions about treatment and the next steps. It will also help you prepare and know what to expect for recovery and the side effects associated with some treatments. Some of the different treatments options include:
- High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU)
- Radiation therapy
- Hormone therapy
- Watchful waiting
At Profound, we use the TULSA Procedure (Transurethral Ultrasound Ablation), an incision-free and radiation-free option that is an alternative to surgery. The minimally invasive procedure involves a directional ultrasound to create very high temperatures to remove targeted prostate tissue. The heat is delivered from the inside out and protecting the anatomical structures around the prostate, including the reproductive system and urinary functions. Any damage to these neurovascular bundles (NVB) can lead to erectile dysfunction or incontinence. The Tulsa Procedure avoids direct contact with the NVBs, reducing the side effects and preserving men’s functional abilities.
Some of the benefits of the TULSA Procedure are minimal risk of side effects, personalized treatment plans, and it is a same-day outpatient treatment.
Attend appointments with your partner
During appointments, your partner may feel overwhelmed and nervous, making it challenging to take everything in. Going with your partner to his doctor’s visits will help ease his nerves and allow you to take notes and ask questions that he may forget.
Have an honest conversation about your sex life and your relationship
Unlike other cancers, the side effects of some treatments can lead to erectile dysfunction. It’s important to keep the doors of communication open and not dismiss how this can have an emotional impact on both of you. Be honest with your feelings, talk about the possibility of counselling or therapy, and discuss how you’ll come to terms with a potential shift in your marriage.
Work as a team
Last but certainly not least, remember that you are a team working towards the same goal. Help your partner communicate with his family and friends about the disease and lend your voice to champion his prostate health.