Confronting prostate cancer together as a couple

prostate cancer as a couple

By Dr. David Samadi

A cancer diagnosis, especially prostate cancer, can challenge the relationship you have with a significant other. Whether you’ve been together for one year or 50 years, receiving such news can significantly disrupt a couple’s life due to added stress, worry, and uncertainty.

When facing cancer, couples may experience unexpected challenges as they navigate individual responses to stress and conflict within their relationship.

Here are several suggestions for effectively addressing the challenges of cancer as a couple:

Transitioning roles and responsibilities

As circumstances change, you may shift from a dependent role to a caregiver and head of the household. This transition may encompass meal preparation, coordinating community carpooling, and contributing to household duties. Anticipate the possibility of assuming additional responsibilities and consider leveraging support from your close network when necessary.

Keep communication lines open

Engaging in open and honest discussions with your partner is advisable, especially when addressing challenging emotions. Suppressing your feelings can lead to emotional distance between you and your partner. It is recommended to openly and honestly address any issues rather than avoiding them. Relationship experts advise that couples who collaboratively maintain open lines of communication and clearly express their needs and fears are likely to strengthen their relationship. Remember to listen to each other without judgment and discuss how we can better support each other.

      It’s essential to be observant of indicators of communication breakdown, such as:

  • Increased tension, disagreements, and misunderstandings 
  • Resorting to sarcasm or criticism, sarcasm 
  • Fewer acts or expressions of love and affection
  • Refusing to ask for help 
  • Being upset by a loved one’s comments or behavior
  • You or your loved one withdrawing physical or emotional support

Maintaining intimacy throughout the cancer journey

Intimacy is multifaceted and can take many forms beyond the physical. During cancer treatment, your partner may experience a decrease in self-esteem and confidence due to side effects. The American Cancer Society advises that partners provide love, support, and understanding to help each other navigate these emotional changes. Communication is essential, but intimacy isn’t limited to sexual contact. There are numerous ways to maintain closeness and show affection. Simple acts like holding hands, writing love notes, cuddling, and kissing can be powerful gestures of love and support. These moments of connection can help sustain emotional bonds and reassure your partner of your unwavering support during this challenging time.

Facing the unknown with courage

The fear of the unknown can often be overwhelming for loved ones, leading to feelings of anxiety and nervousness about what the future holds. It’s important to refrain from blaming each other for the unfolding events. Instead, open up a dialogue to discuss your worries together, either in private or within a supportive group, so that you can understand each other’s feelings. Encourage mutual support and understanding within your partnership.

Take home message

Suppose you find it challenging to communicate with your partner about your diagnosis. In that case, it may be helpful to explore joining a support group where you can connect with others going through similar experiences. Additionally, seeking guidance from a counselor or social worker can provide you with valuable support and strategies for navigating these conversations with your partner.


Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy.  Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911. 

Confronting prostate cancer together as a couple
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Dr. David Samadi