Getting support with advanced prostate cancer

Finding out you have advanced prostate cancer can be profoundly disorienting. You may feel alone. You may not know where to turn for support.
Even if it feels like it at times, you don’t have to face this diagnosis on your own. There is support and guidance available, you just need to know what steps to take.

What can
you do now?

Build your prostate cancer support team

Living with a cancer diagnosis is not something you have to face alone. Lean on the community around you to take some of the stress of advanced prostate cancer off your mind. You’ll not only feel better, but the people that care about you will get the chance to be there when you need them most.

Share your diagnosis with your partner, friends and
whānau

Being open with people you trust can lighten the load on your shoulders. Kaua e whakamā. Don’t be ashamed or afraid to talk through what’s bothering you. Are you worried about life expectancy with prostate cancer? Quality of life? How treatment might affect you? Or just generally what comes next? Your support system wants to help you get through it.

Consider a prostate cancer registry

In addition to clinical trials, many tāne choose to join a prostate cancer registry. A registry collects information on your cancer type, any treatments you’ve had, side effects, family history, overall quality of life and more. Doctors and researchers use this knowledge to work towards better care and treatments – and to improve quality of life for all tāne with prostate cancer. Find out more about being part of the New Zealand registry here.

Who can help you get through advanced prostate cancer?

Your doctor, care team
or hauora provider

Talk openly to your doctor, nurse, or someone else you trust in your care team. They can help you understand your diagnosis, your prognosis (the likely outcome of your treatment), treatments for advanced prostate cancer and potential side effects. They can also listen to your concerns and put you in touch with other people who can help.

Trained counsellors or wellbeing supports

At a time when you have so much on your shoulders, someone who’ll listen without judgment is critical. Talking to someone kanohi ki te kanohi (face-to-face) is a really good option. There are different people who can help you deal with mental health issues, including Maori hauora providers. You can also look for rongoā Māori healers.

Counsellors are trained to listen and can help you to find your own ways to deal with things. Many hospitals have counsellors or psychologists who specialise in helping people with cancer — ask your team at the hospital if this is available or if they know of services in the community you can access at low or no cost to you. Your GP or family doctor may also be able to refer you to a counsellor, or you can seek out a private counsellor yourself.

Find out more information and search for counsellors in your area on the New Zealand Association of counsellors website. You may also be able to access free psychology and counselling services in your local area through the Cancer Society. Some people find one session very useful, and others appreciate ongoing support.

Cancer support groups

Talking to other
tāne
with advanced prostate cancer can be a helpful way to connect with people who understand what you’re going through. Talk to your doctor for recommendations on any good local groups, or check online for ones that interest you.

Visit the Prostate Cancer Foundation or the Cancer Society to find a cancer support group or network near you. You can also call 0800 226 237 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm) to connect with a peer supporter, often someone who has had a similar cancer experience to you.

Spiritual counsellors

Wairuatanga (spirituality) is a vital part of connecting and healing. Some tāne find that talking with a spiritual leader or counsellor can be useful during this time. It may also help to visit places that make you feel calm, at peace and grounded, like a lake or somewhere out in nature. Taking time to listen to your creative energy, or express your cultural identity through art and waiata (song) can also heal the wairua (spirit).

It's OK to reach out

Remember, there is support available to help you make decisions and process all the feelings and questions you have.
Being open with people you trust can lighten the load on your shoulders. Kaua e whakamā - don’t be ashamed or afraid to talk through what’s bothering you.

Whanaungatanga matters

One of the best ways to help your whānau or yourself is by keeping in contact. Strong whanaungatanga and relationships help to:

  • keep stable

  • know that we’re valued and loved

  • get well faster

  • stay well for longer

Our relationships with each other are very important. If an important relationship breaks up, or we can’t be with someone we love, that can have a significant effect on our wairua (spirit).

Remember, asking for help is a sign of strength. Rather than being seen as weakness, it actually takes courage to admit that you can’t do everything alone.

Kia kaha, Kia maia, Kia manawanui.

What's next?

Now that you've read up on Getting support with advanced prostate cancer, here are some related articles to explore as you continue to build your knowledge and understanding of this topic.
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