Psychological support for prostate cancer sufferers

Irish men with prostate cancer now have a four-in-five chance of being alive in 10 years’ time but new research shows they worry about feeling ill and intimacy problems.

As part of a nationwide campaign to help men live with prostate cancer, the Irish Cancer Society and pharmaceutical company Janssen have come together to organise ‘Man to Man’, a series of nationwide meetings designed to give psychological support.

John McCormack, Irish Cancer Society chief executive, said: “With a marked increase in the number of men surviving prostate cancer in Ireland comes the increased need for greater cancer support services such as psychological support that seeks to improve quality of life for men and their families, foster acceptance and encourage open and honest communication.”

The campaign comes in the wake of a new European survey that reveals prostate cancer patients are more likely to worry about intimacy (54%) and feeling ill (41%), than the risk of death from cancer (36%).

John Dowling, who has prostate cancer, said: “Communication is important — as men we find it hard to open up about the emotional struggles we experience. More needs to be done to ensure more emphasis is placed on talking about and managing the quality-of-life needs of men and their families.”

He will be speaking at the ‘Man to Man’ meetings scheduled to take place in Donegal, Kerry and Westmeath during Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in November.

Patricia Byrne, clinical psychologist at the Psychological Medicine service at St James’s Hospital, Dublin, will address each of the meetings, offering advice on fatigue, emotions and the impact on family and friends.

The ‘Man to Man’ meetings are free and will take place in Letterkenny (Radisson Blu Hotel) on November 10; in Tralee (Brandon Hotel) on November 17, and in Athlone (Radisson Blu Hotel) on November 24.

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