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Prostate Cancer: Tips for Family and Friends

A cancer diagnosis affects not only a man with the disease but the people around him, especially family members and friends. Everyone wants to be supportive and helpful and to cope with the cancer diagnosis as well as possible. But that's not always easy. Here are some tips for how to be most helpful and reduce stress:

  • Feel free to ask the man's doctor and others on the medical team questions if you go along on appointments. First, though, be sure asking questions is okay with the man. Be sensitive about asking questions to which he may not want answers.
  • Be prepared for changes in your friend's or loved one's behavior and mood. Medications, discomfort, and stress can cause feelings of depression or anger.
  • Encourage your friend or loved one to be active and independent, as much as possible, to help him regain a sense of self-reliance and confidence.
  • Don't hesitate to ask other family members and friends for help. They will appreciate the opportunity to help.
  • Keep a positive attitude.
  • Accept that there are events you cannot control.
  • Be assertive instead of aggressive. "Assert" your feelings, opinions, or beliefs instead of becoming angry, combative, or passive.
  • Learn to relax.
  • Exercise regularly. Your body can fight stress better when you are physically fit.
  • Eat well-balanced meals.
  • Rest and sleep. Take some time off for yourself. Your body needs time to recover from stressful events. Don't rely on alcohol or drugs to reduce stress.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Jay B. Zatzkin, MD, FACP on August 03, 2013

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