Joanne's Story

White British
Sexual Orientation
South East
Relationship status
Married/In a Civil Partnership

Do you have any tips or advice that may help others support those who are going through treatment, including with any ongoing side effects?

Prepare for significant sexual changes as a result of a radical prostatectomy. Expect to work up the ladder of penile pumps, Viagra and penile injections. Expect your partner to have lost confidence, especially in the light of some residual incontinence and erectile dysfunction, not to mention the worry about having had cancer. Prepare to pay privately to see a Urologist specialising in erectile dysfunction - the NHS waiting lists are silly. Prepare to seek emotional support for your partner and / or yourself from a private Counsellor or from cancer organisations such as Maggies, which are very helpful. Prepare that many people in your network will think the problem has been removed by surgery - and prepare that many people won't want to talk about something so intimate as the impacts of prostate cancer.

Please tell us how their treatment impacted your life the most.

My husband is more withdrawn and has lost sexual confidence as a result of his radical prostectomy nearly 4-years ago. Consequentially, intimacy and fun has reduced between us and sexual spontaneity is no longer possible. This has changed the nature of the marriage and, for me, it no longer feels such a satisfying romantic relationship. Overall, it has unsettled us and the dynamics of the marriage.

Thinking about your own wellbeing, what has helped you to cope, and where have you gone to find support? What tips and advice would you give to others?

You need resilience, patience, measured optimism, time, normal routines and the support of partners in the same situation (as well as good, established, friends) to get through the often life changing impacts of a radical prostectomy. Some funds are also very useful to pay for a private Urologist specialising in erectile dysfunction and a Counsellor to help deal with the practical, emotional and pyschological impacts of prostate cancer and the after effects.

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