Telling others about prostate cancer – Pros and cons

In the early weeks after a prostate cancer diagnosis, you may find yourself telling everyone you know that your loved one has prostate cancer.

There is nothing wrong with that.  But it’s important to understand that not everyone may know how to react.  Some people have a natural gift for saying the right thing. Others may not.

Nervous insensitivity

People generally mean well, but they sometimes say things out of nervousness that may feel inappropriate to you.

For example, you will probably hear someone say: “Prostate cancer is the best cancer to have.”  While that’s true, the words “prostate cancer” and “best” just don’t belong in the same sentence!

You may also be asked questions that you are not prepared to answer, or don’t want to talk about.  For example, they may ask you:

  • What’s his prognosis?
  • Has the cancer spread?
  • What about impotence?

Let’s talk about me

Some people may quickly shift the conversation and tell you about their experiences with other types of cancers.  It can be distressing if those experiences were not positive.

And then there are those people who will offer their strong opinions on what they think you should or should not do about your loved one’s prostate cancer.

Or there may be some people that say nothing at all.

Don’t want advice?

Some people have a tendency to want to help or fix other people’s problems.

If you are not looking for that kind of support, but need to talk about your loved one’s prostate cancer, you can consider sharing that with the person you are talking to.


You might say:

  • “I really need to talk about what’s going on, but I’m not looking for any advice.
  • Or “Can you just listen to me for a bit?”

Setting healthy boundaries

If someone brings up something about prostate cancer that is upsetting you can tell them:

  • “I’d rather not talk about that right now”
  • Or “I’m not prepared to talk about that right now”

Hopefully, they’ll get the point and drop the subject.

Those who understand

Sometimes the most comforting person to talk to is someone who has had experience with prostate cancer.

Read support for you and him for some great resources to find those people.

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