phoenix 5 - to help men and their companions overcome issues created by prostate cancer
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A selection from:
Men,Women, and Prostate Cancer
Page 14

Contrary to popular opinion, if prostate cancer is caught early and treated effectively, it doesn't have to mean death, impotence, or incontinence. But male denial works against early detection and effective treatment. Forty-three percent of doctors surveyed by the American Medical Association in 1992 claimed that men with prostate cancer go untreated merely because they don't want to talk about it with their doctors. An astounding 85 percent of doctors surveyed said that even men who do talk about prostate cancer are bit prepared to cope with it well — pragmatically or psychologically.

What happens when a middle-aged man, facing all sorts of new concerns about his virility, suddenly discovers that he has prostate cancer? How does he go about confronting a disease that attacks the source of his manhood and threatens to destroy his bladder control, his sexual capabilities, his very life? Where does he turn for help?

In the overwhelming majority of cases, men in this situation turn to the women in their lives. Indeed, men facing any illness generally depend upon women research that illness, supervise day-to-day care, provide emotional relief, and, inevitably, do most of the talking to family, friends, and health-care professionals. This is true even when the sickness is relatively minor. A popular television commercial glorifies ''Dr. Mom,'' whose young children and adult husband are equally dependent upon her — physically and emotionally — to deal with their common colds. Another familiar commercial depicts a rugged-looking fly fisherman stifling his reaction to pain in his hands, while the voice-over tells us that when he gets arthritis, his wife gives him a pain reliever. Sadly we understand the twisted logic involved: It wouldn't fit the fly fisherman's macho image if he were to get the pain reliever for himself!

In keeping with this reality, this book is primarily addressed to the women who care for men during this illness. Even though this book also offers valuable, comprehensive information and guidance for male readers — caregivers as well as patients — it makes a special effort to address the unique concerns of the wives, mothers, daughters, granddaughters, sisters, daughters-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces, aunts, and/or female life-companions, lovers, or friends in a stricken man's life who work alone or, more commonly, in a supportive female network to tend to the man's physical, practical, and psychological needs. It squarely acknowledges what all the research on the subject confirms: In our society, it is usually women who wind up managing most healthcare issues relating to men's illnesses, resulting in a healing partnership that's inextricably involved with gender-related issues as well.


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