Coping with prostate cancer is a journey, one that requires willpower and strength. But it’s crucial to remember that no prostate cancer patient is alone — for everything that he is going through, there are patients and survivors out there who have faced the same challenges and emotions. It’s important to find information and support, for both the patient and the patient’s loved ones.
Research shows that participating in a support group or community organization has incredible benefits for patients, including reduced stress, anxiety, and confusion, greater tolerance of treatment, decreased feelings of loneliness and helplessness, and an overall enhanced quality of life. When it comes to living with cancer, being prepared, confident, and positive goes a long way, and support groups can facilitate this mental state of well-being.
Whether in person or online, support groups provide an authentic camaraderie between those trekking through the same journey. Below are top prostate cancer support organizations that succeed at making the journey manageable.
ProstAware: An incredible resource for those interested in relevant issues or seeking information, ProstAware’s goal is to spread prostate health awareness through music, technology, and sports. Based in the greater Atlanta area, ProstAware is dedicated to educating men and their loved ones about prostate health and fighting the battle of prostate cancer. ProstAware’s unique approach to education, through the upbeat and exciting “worlds of music, technology, and sports,” helps users stay informed and positive. With an education resource, sponsorship and donation opportunities, and a successful, annual Blue Ties event, ProstAware succeeds as a leading and trustworthy resource for those looking for prostate health information and prostate cancer support.
Us TOO International: Founded in 1990, Us TOO International is a nonprofit built upon a foundation of volunteers that provide educational materials to “help men and their families/caregivers make informed decisions about prostate cancer detection, treatment options and related side effects,” as well as peer-to-peer support. Aside from many in-person group meeting options, Us TOO International’s website offers thorough information on every step of the prostate cancer journey, as well as countless options for support. Most notably, Us TOO International wants patients to feel empowered and in control. The website offers a “Take Action – Get Connected” section, where users have access to a multitude of resources, such as information about attending a community conversation on prostate cancer and joining a phone support group, a newsletter, “News You Can Use,” the ability to customize a “My Prostate Cancer Roadmap,” a directory of financial assistance, and much more.
Malecare: Priding itself as the “leading men’s cancer survivor support and advocacy national nonprofit organization,” Malecare aims to set the standard for peer-to-peer support. This organization places a large emphasis on technology in service to cancer patients, and the ways in which personalized cancer information is delivered. Founded in 1997 and managed by oncologists, psychologists, and social workers, Malecare is known for providing health programs to underserved populations, such as the African-American, LGBT, and Native American communities. In addition, Malecare “facilitates the world’s largest advanced stage prostate cancer support group network.” This organization believes that talking about prostate cancer can be instrumental in coping with it successfully, and offers various in-person group meetings.
Patients Like Me: With a mission to empower patients and make healthcare better through sharing, support, and research, Patients Like Me is an online community where users can search through a directory of like-minded patients. After joining users can create profiles where they can specify their condition, and search for others with the same affliction. Users can choose to share information about themselves, or privately track daily moods in a journal with other conditions, symptoms, and even results of labs and tests. These options not only allow for users to connect with others on a deeper level, it allows for the individual user to take control of what he or she is feeling and track the journey. With a forum and messaging options, Patients Like Me is an incredible way for patients to converse with others.
To find other prostate cancer or general cancer support groups, visit the American Cancer Society’s search feature.