Us TOO's New Forum for Gay Men and Their Partners
For Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, ProstateCancer.net sat down with Us TOO to talk about the organization’s support groups designed for caregivers and partners. Mike is a volunteer and leader of the Gay Men’s Forum - a support group for gay men whose partners are living with prostate cancer.
Meet Mike and A Forum for Gay Men and Their Partners
A Prostate Cancer Forum for Gay Men and Their Partners is an ongoing conference call series that provides gay men and their partners with important peer-to-peer support. Usually, both the man living with prostate cancer and his husband or partner are deeply impacted, and each is subject to his own physical and emotional concerns. It can be helpful to address these concerns by speaking with others in a similar situation.
Why is peer support important for prostate cancer patients and caregivers?
For gay men in a relationship with other gay men, there is an understanding that what one of us goes through could happen to the other. This can create a lot of fear but also build an intense bond between partners. Talking to other gay men who understand this is very important.
The challenges patients and caregivers face
The challenges these men face is probably similar to the other groups. Patients want to talk to others who are in the same situation. Partners and husbands want to talk to other partners and husbands. Men come to this group to support the patient and also learn how to take better care of themselves. Issues like being intimate when their partner is no longer able or loses desire come up frequently. Prostate cancer can change any relationship. The question then is how to understand and relearn intimacy in a new way.
Identifying missing support systems for patients and caregivers
The doctors who treat prostate cancer patients need to include the partner or husband in decision making. Doctors should help them understand that this cancer can be an issue for them as well. Awareness that the partner or husband also has a prostate and what is being talked about in the room may affect him as well. There then is the patient and a potential patient sitting in from of them.
Connect with an Us TOO support group
If you are a male caregiver and interested in joining one of our monthly calls or would like to start your own support group, reach out to Terri Likowski, Us TOO Program Director of Support Group Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will add your name to the list.
If you are a partner or spouse supporting someone living with prostate cancer and would like to share your story, you can by going to ProstateCancer.net's share your story submission page. Tell us how you support your partner through diagnosis and treatment and what advice you would give to others facing prostate cancer.
Have you made personal connections through your journey with prostate cancer?