According to Prostate Cancer UK about 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with the disease during their lifetime, frequently after the age of fifty. The risk increases with age, and is higher for Black men or those with a family history of disease.
To mark the start of ‘Movember’ we report on ESCA CancerSupport’s prostate cancer discussion group.
Since May 2021, ESCA CancerSupport has brought together a support group for those affected by prostate cancer. Christian Holyoak, psychologist and ESCA CancerSupport Counsellor, explains why setting up this group was important for ESCA CancerSupport:
‘It can be a bit tough for men when diagnosed with prostate cancer for example not knowing how to make sense of what to do and where to go for help or how to navigate the medical system. So, we set up an ongoing group for men with prostate cancer to meet with other men in the same boat. ‘
Sessions encompass the detection, treatment and long-term care of disease, ranging from PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) blood tests, to the flexibility of interventions due to the slow growth of disease, and members’ experiences of treatment options in Suisse Romande.
Between six and eight men attend these monthly meetings by video conference. The two-hour sessions are informative, supportive and practical, with the first part being a presentation and Q&A. Presentations include those given by someone who has completed prostate cancer treatment; and a clinical nurse who discussed symptom and treatment management. A joint session with a urologist, radiologist and oncologist from the Clinique de Grangettes is also planned.
In many cases prostate cancer grows slowly and will not cause significant problems, initially requiring “watchful waiting” or “active surveillance.” In others, the cancer can be aggressive and require more urgent treatment. According to this year’s Office of Federal Statistics report into Cancer in Switzerland there is an average of 6400 cases diagnosed annually.
The highly personal and sensitive nature of prostate cancer can lead to feelings of isolation, with treatment impacting not only physical health but also relationships with spouses, family, and colleagues. The second part of each session provides a valuable chance for personal sharing and discussion, with exchanges led by Christian Holyoak. The group’s conversations are frank and confidential, focusing on personal observations about these changes and how they can be addressed.
‘The group is a secure base to talk, socialise, share stories, ask questions, listen to experts who come in as guests from time to time. We’ve found that it helps as a way to feel not so alone in all of this and also to receive useful information’.
Prostate support group sessions are held on the last Thursday of each month. They are open to anyone in need of them.
Next Zoom meeting: 25 November, 17:30 – 19:30
Further information: https://www.cancersupport.ch/portfolio-item/prostate-support/