Breaking The Wall Of Silence Surrounding Prostate Cancer
Social Awareness Open dialogue between patients and their loved ones is an important element to managing prostate cancer.
hey say that a brave man is one who manages to overcome his fears. This trait becomes vital when we’re talking about fighting prostate cancer. This is a course filled with obstacles and uncertainty that can be made easier through dialogue with family members, caregivers, fellow patients and most importantly physicians.
Prostate cancer remains a taboo subject for many of the men who have it.
“I used to have prostate cancer,” says Laurent Proulx, Executive Director at PROCURE, a non-profit dedicated to raising awareness, preventing and curing prostate cancer.
“My first challenge was to try to get information about the disease. It wasn’t so easy seven years ago. This was and still is a taboo subject,” he says.
During his recovery, he asked specialists why research wasn’t as advanced as it is for breast cancer, which affects a similar number of people. “I was told that this is because we don’t talk about it as much.”
Speaking with confidence
Issues such as impotence and incontinence can be more difficult to tackle.
“The worst thing that can happen for men is to stay silent and feel like they can’t share their concerns with others,” says Winston McQuade, artist, moderator, and prostate cancer survivor.
M. McQuade fights his own isolation by offering conferences across Quebec, to establish a dialogue with men suffering from this type of cancer and their family members.
“The time has come to take part in this conversation. That’s why we use every chance we get to talk about it in the media and give conferences on this topic,” he says.
When faced with the progression of prostate cancer, having a trusting relationship with physicians and specialists is of utmost importance. Sometimes, asking a few questions could help determine if we’re working with the right specialist. What are the treatments available to me at this stage in my disease? What treatments will keep my cancer from progressing? How do treatments fight cancer’s mutation? What can I expect in terms of quality of life throughout the treatments?
Especially if the cancer is late-stage, specialists can meet to discuss their medical opinions and determine the best course of action based on mutual conclusions. It’s important for patients to be appropriately informed of every facet of their treatment, including risks, benefits and potential outcomes. Post-treatment wellness programs are also a great tool to heal and empower both the patient as well and his loved ones.
For some, it is the sense of community that makes all the difference. For several years now, the month of November is an occasion to raise public awareness and to create bridges between men suffering from prostate cancer and their loved ones.
Others prefer anonymity. Those who don’t want to go to a conference to discuss and ask questions, they can still participate online anonymously.
The PROCURE website contains useful information and testimonies of brave men to help patients, their families and their caregivers. One can also talk to a nurse specializing in uro-oncology, by calling 1-855-899-2873, a confidential line entirely dedicated to matters related to prostate cancer.
“Sure, once we have cancer, things are different. But life goes on. You are not alone and there are solutions,” concludes Mr. Proulx.