Cairns Urology Prostate Cryotherapy performed at
Cairns Urology by
Dr Neil S. I. Gordon.


Getting Help & Support

Help for You and Your Partner

Cancer SupportYou have prostate cancer. Your spouse or partner has been there for you up to now and will want to be involved with care and attention in this difficult time. If you are like most couples dealing with prostate cancer, it will place a strain on the relationship.

In addition relatives and friends will have concerns too, particularly any sons who will be aware that with Dad having a prostate cancer, it increases the likelihood that the son will develop one at some time during his life by a factor of two (i.e. it doubles).

How the disease affects sex and intimacy between you may be one of your major concerns.You and your partner need to know that you can’t “stir up” prostate cancer by having sex. Also, you can’t pass on cancer to a partner.

You are also likely to face a range of other emotional pressures and psychological issues as well as commitments socially and professionally. There is no need to hide from them. You will be able to deal with them if you allow your partner to be involved. Here are some tips for partners that can help.

Learn all you can about Prostate Cancer and its Treatment

The more you know about prostate cancer, the more you will know what to expect in terms of treatment, side effects and outcomes. With that knowledge, you can begin to remove some of your uncertainty and anxiety. You will have a better idea of what your spouse or partner is facing. Of course no one can know everything and it is impossible to predict or anticipate every problem or side effect of any treatment.


Communication is critical during this stressful time. Talk to your partner about how you feel. It is a lot easier to deal with fears and problems at the start rather than waiting for them to escalate. Partners should encourage speaking openly and honestly with each other. A partner should let the patient know that the disease and the consequences of it are not “his” problem alone—it is a problem that is shared.

Ask the Doctor Questions

It is a good idea for the partner to go to the doctor visits so that the information can heard first-hand as to what the doctor has to say. No question is a dumb question, especially about prostate cancer.


If impotence occurs there will be strong feelings to deal with. The emotions can be very complex. Remember that these emotions are normal. Acknowledge them. You are not alone - 30 million individuals in the U.S. have partners who have developed erectile dysfunction because of prostate cancer.

Treatment of impotence is usually started sooner rather than later after the initial treatment for Prostate Cancer is completed – usually within 4-6 weeks as long term results are better.

Treatment may take various forms and will be discussed with the couple depending on their circumstances.


Partners of men with Prostate cancer still need to take care of their own health and well-being. While the focus may be on the man undergoing treatment, it will be necessary for the partner to have some time for “self”. The partner needs to know that they can't do everything.

What might happen?

Prostate cancer can be difficult for a relationship. Cancer is difficult for anyone. Prostate cancer can be even harder to face because of the effect of the disease on “maleness”. It can strain relationships:

  • The man may feel depressed, angry, anxious and fearful.
  • He may worry about his job and supporting his family as well as other financial commitments.
  • Despair over prostate cancer can fluctuate from hope then quickly back to despair.
  • He will be concerned about his masculinity and the impact of prostate cancer and treatment on his sexuality. If the prostate cancer impairs his ability to have an erection, he may avoid any kind of sexual activity.
  • He may be embarrassed about his prostate cancer and self-conscious of his body.
  • He will worry about medical tests, hospitalization and treatment.
  • He may feel sorry for himself and become withdrawn.
  • He may be uncomfortable sharing his feelings about prostate cancer.
  • He may become non-communicative.
  • Depending on his specific prostate cancer treatment, he may experience physical changes, including weight gain, hair loss, hot flashes, and fatigue.

Partners of men with prostate cancer may find life difficult and exhausting particularly if they are called upon to perform duties which they are not used to. There is often an emotional roller coaster to deal with but it can be overcome with the right assistance as suggested above.

The good news is that there are people who can help because you are not alone. Just ask!

Seek Help when you Need it

Occasionally, there will be some despondence and possibly signs of depression in both you and your partner. Seek professional help as soon as you think it is needed. Your family Doctor or General Practitioner is the best person to start with as they usually know you already and are likely to be the person who sent you to the Specialist in the first place.Ask for help of any kind when you need it. Accept it when it’s offered.

Prostate Cancer Support Groups

Prostate Cancer Foundation of AustraliaProstate Cancer Support Groups can be very helpful. It is likely that a prostate cancer support group exists in your community—or nearby. Seek it out and share your challenges with others facing the same challenges and those who have experienced them already. Getting and giving help will strengthen your sense of community and provide a strong sense of support.