It can be beneficial for men diagnosed with prostate cancer to learn from other men who have been through the experience. Peer support is often provided through groups or networks but not all men wish to participate in face-to-face peer support. The effectiveness of peer support via on-line or video is being explored as an alternative or in addition to support groups.
A UK study published in Supportive Care in Cancer1 describes the making of a peer support film where seven volunteers, who co-created the film with the researchers, were interviewed about their cancer experiences. Interviews were analysed to find out what the men wanted to tell other men about their cancer journeys. Four themes came from the analysis: “Going into the unknown, it was difficult but I got through it” highlighted the difficulties men faced and their resilience and determination to get through it; “Only you can do it” was about getting help from others but ultimately taking control of their own management and decisions; “I haven’t changed massively” acknowledged that they had been through difficult experiences but fundamentally they remained the same person and life could return to normal; and “Stay involved”, stressed the importance of staying connected to family, friends and community.
This study provides a framework for understanding what men who have been through prostate cancer think would be helpful to other men who are starting on the cancer journey. It also demonstrates that a film can be useful in providing peer support within or outside a group setting.
1The video “Getting down to coping” is available online at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcrlIcejzdA
This article first appeared in issue 57 of The Healthy Male, the newsletter of Andrology Australia. © Andrology Australia (www.andrologyaustralia.org) and can be accessed on https://www.andrologyaustralia.org/newsletter/
Dr Swindle encourages the involvement and support of friends and family when a patient is diagnosed with prostate cancer. He also recommends that the patient and his partner ask as many questions as necessary to ensure that they are comfortable with whatever his journey encompasses. Contact Dr Swindle’s rooms on (07) 3010 3333 if you require further information on your diagnosis.