Information for Caregivers and Loved Ones

When a man is diagnosed with prostate cancer, the emotional responses to the diagnosis may not be predictable and are as wide and varied as the men involved. Family and friends will also feel the impact of the diagnosis. Certainly the experience for partners may be more intense and may or may not closely match the patient’s experiences. The reality is when a man is diagnosed with prostate cancer the attention falls naturally – and often squarely – on him. The critical challenge faced by a caregiver is finding support and taking care of oneself to ultimately maintain personal health and energy levels.

What is a Caregiver?

A caregiver is someone who provides support to a person with cancer. The type and level of support will depend on the patient’s needs and may include:
  • Emotional support – e.g., listening, validating concerns, normalizing feelings, etc.
  • Practical support – e.g., helping with bathing, helping to get around, helping to make appointments with the various health providers, etc.
  • Financial and legal support – e.g., helping to set up a will, reviewing legal concerns, assisting with finding help for the costs of treatment, etc. The role of caregiver is not limited to a spouse or partner. A caregiver might be an adult child, a sibling, a friend, or even a colleague. The relationship to the patient will certainly affect the level and type of support a caregiver can provide.
Some Practical Things You Can Do as a Caregiver?

There are a number of practical things you can do in your role as a caregiver. The list below may offer some suggestions. You can probably think of some others:
  • Keep all medications listed and organized for easy retrieval.
  • Keep a list of all treatments and the dates administered.
  • Keep a list of all health professionals (and other service providers) and their contact information handy.
  • Put up a calendar with important dates (or keep a small notebook for easy transport in case of an emergency).
  • Make a note of all of your discussions with health professionals.
  • Record the consultations with health professionals (you can use a smartphone, for example) so that you can re-play this afterwards.
  • Find some positive things to do with the patient on a regular basis so that the disease doesn’t take over his (or your) life.
  • Keep making happy and meaningful memories by doing the things you enjoy.
  • Find out if there are any support groups in your area that you can tap into: go to or call 1-888-255-0333.
  • Contact the Prostate Cancer Information Service to access medical information. This service is confidential and you can connect via phone at  1-855-722-4636 (toll free) or by email at
  • Develop a plan of action so you and the patient talk about “what if?” scenarios and how you might address them. Your plan should include difficult but important topics such as how to develop a will, how to take care of finances, advance care planning, etc.
  • Make sure you take care of yourself so you don’t get burnt out – think about who you can reach out to for help or support.  

Caregiver’s Story

Family Journey 

While supporting your loved one, it’s important to take care of yourself and seek support if you become overwhelmed. For more information about how to best approach the role of caregiver explore our resource for caregivers.

Want to talk with someone about your loved one’s diagnosis? You can talk with an information specialist, one-on-one for free. Call 1-855-PCC-INFO (1-855-722-4636) or email
View and order the advanced prostate cancer resource here.


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