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
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.