Let’s talk about cancer concerns and anxiety

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Psychologist Jo Hemmings offers candid advice on the best times and places to open up about your cancer concerns and anxieties

According to new research launched for Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, nearly 8 in 10 men (79%) initially keep silent about their  prostate cancer symptoms, with one in ten taking over six months to voice their concern, if they choose to do so at all (full research findings below).

The research was commissioned by GenesisCare – the UK’s leading private cancer care provider – a part of its new Deadly Silent campaign which aims to help get men talking and encourage early diagnosis and enable access to all treatment options. 

Within the campaign, GenesisCare has teamed up with Jo Hemmings, Behavioural psychologist, to offer her advice on the best times and places to open up about your cancer concerns and anxieties.

She says: “This research reveals just how difficult it can be for men to open up about prostate concerns, due to dismissal of symptoms, embarrassment and fear of worrying others as well the treatment procedures they may have to go through. But sharing their concerns is the first critical step in getting advice, treatment and potentially saving their lives.

There are comfortable and safe spaces to share your concerns and below are five examples of where and when you might find it easier to start that conversation. 

The research mentioned walking, playing golf or a football match (preferably before, half-time or afterwards) as a good time to open the conversation with someone close to you. But it could be at any activity where you feel relaxed and able to raise the conversation with less anxiety.

Ideally you should choose a quiet and familiar setting, where you feel calm and aren’t likely to get interrupted.

It will be an anxious time and you may be concerned about a loved one’s reaction, so be mindful of your timing – perhaps when your children have gone to bed and not before an important event or a family gathering.

At this point, although you may have nothing to worry about, do a little research – there are some very good prognoses when prostate cancer is caught at an early stage and much of the treatment is not too intrusive – so that you are able to reassure your loved one’s concerns and answer their questions with some positive knowledge and information. When it comes to prostate cancer, this can actually be treated in as little as five days with little or no side effects.

You may get emotional when you first share your concerns, that’s totally fine and normal, but make sure that you make those that care deeply about you that you will be seeking medical advice at the soonest possible moment. If you have already seen your GP or Consultant, make sure that you relay what they have advised you with clear language and try to avoid medical jargon, which may confuse.

Medical experts are urging people to speak up before it’s too late. Dr Prantik Das, Clinical Oncologist at GenesisCare is urging people to speak up before it’s too late “Health issues can be taboo, especially with men as our ‘deadly silence’ research shows. Cancer can be difficult to discuss, and many men fear the impact a cancer diagnosis may have on their lives and the lives of their loved ones. By opening up conversations and, encouraging early detection, together with highlighting all available and innovative treatment options, we hope to improve outcomes and help more men live longer, healthy lives. Here at GenesisCare, we offer the latest cutting-edge prostate cancer treatments & technology, combined with world-class clinical expertise to ensure the best possible outcomes for our patients. Our 5-day prostate cancer radiotherapy, available on our state-of-the-art MRIdian MR linac, means if you and your consultant agree that this is the best option for you, treatment can be fully completed in as little as one week.  And thanks to its unique functionality and accuracy we can reduce side effects such as incontinence and/or impotence.”

The research findings:

71% of men feel embarrassed by the warning signs – such as difficulty urinating or emptying their bladder or needing to urinate more than usual, especially at night, with 39% struggling to open up to friends, their partner (37%) or even a healthcare professional (30%). 39% of men remain silent about their symptoms for fear of worrying others, 29% fear the side effects of the treatment – such as impotence and incontinence – and as many as 15% say they simply don’t have the time to address it. But this silence can come at a cost to their life.  

Outdoor settings – such as walking (27%), playing golf (10%) or at a football match (10%) – are some of the easiest locations to open up to friends and family about cancer concerns.

Another shocking revelation from the research is the number of men who assume their father never experienced prostate cancer yet never had a conversation about it (31%), with a further 18% only finding out that their father suffered from the disease many years after their own treatment.

For more information on prostate cancer symptoms and treatment options visit the GenesisCare website at Prostate cancer: Symptoms & Treatment | GenesisCare UK

The post Let’s talk about cancer concerns and anxiety appeared first on Wellbeing Magazine.

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