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Tag Archives: Prostate cancer

Counseling men with prostate cancer and their partners

ProstateCancerby Anne Katz PhD, RN, FAAN


Prostate cancer is widely acknowledged as a couples’ disease, in no small part to assumptions about the man’s role in initiating sex; as a result, the sexual side effects of treatment are deemed to affect not just the man but his partner as well. There is perhaps some truth to this however it is also predominately a disease of aging men and with age comes alterations in sexual potential. The partner of the man with prostate cancer is also older and may have issues related to aging him or herself too.


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by Anne Katz PhD, RN, CKN Survivorship Section Editor


I work in the Manitoba Prostate Centre where we see men with both benign and malignant prostate disease. Many of these men are elderly and often they leave a lingering odor behind them in the waiting room and examination room. Urology nurses are used to these odors and my nursing colleagues often raise their eyebrows at me when I wrinkle my nose in response. I am not judging the patient; it is not their fault that they have this problem. It is a side effect of treatment compounded by the fact that they don’t launder their clothes frequently or perhaps their families have gotten used to the smell or perhaps they don’t know how to address it without feeling shame and embarrassment. A recent article in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship Research and Practice (Alsadius et al., 2013) highlights this issue. The men in this study had radiation therapy for prostate cancer between 2 and 14 years previously.  A testament to the importance of this issue is the response rate – 89% – from men over the age of 80 years.

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Empowering Patients Through Information

We asked our Current Oncology Section Editors how they would define the term “life after cancer” and how that theme presents itself in their chosen fields.  Below is a response from Dr. Fred Saad,Chief of urology, CHUM.

“Life after cancer” for my patients with prostate cancer varies tremendously. Historically, in the case of prostate cancer, it was almost taboo to admit the disease had struck – given all the misconceptions regarding virility and manhood that accompanied the diagnosis.

A lot of work had to be done on several fronts to dispel the myths surrounding this disease. It is rewarding to see that many men are now able to talk about their diagnosis and help others to open up. This evolution has allowed public awareness of the disease to increase tremendously.  The search for new information about prostate cancer has triggered an onslaught of information from many sources including the media, the web, books, etc. We have gone from rags to riches in this disease in terms of information.

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