Undergoing prostate cancer treatment and dealing with its side effects can require a lot of time away from work. Since money and health insurance are two pressing concerns during prostate cancer treatment, the patient’s job becomes an important consideration.

Missing work after prostate cancer diagnosis:

Whether the patient undergoes surgery, radiation or hormone therapy to treat prostate cancer, there are side effects of each that may require leave from work. The patient will require time off from his work to have surgery and recover. While radiation treatment appointments would need long periods of leave from work.

If the patient is worried about missing work for such long periods, every employer or organization has some sort of medical leave rules. The patient can choose the type of leave that best suits him to take care of his health.

FMLA:

The Family and Medical Leave Act is a federal law that allows an employee to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave from work to take care of one’s own health or anyone in the family. There are some conditions to such leave. The employer must have 50 or more full time employees. The person wanting leave must also be a full time employee and have worked for at least a year for availing FMLA.

Disability Pay :

The employer or the state government may offer short term or long term disability pay. This program allows the person/employee to receive a certain percentage of his pay even if he is unable to work because of health condition. It is for the patient to find out if his organization or employer offers disability pay.

Disability insurance policies can be brought independently through an insurance agent or financial planner. The patient needs to manage health care bills and paper works related to prostate cancer treatment for insurance purposes. He has to keep a record of his doctor’s visit, hospital visits, treatment dates and medications that he has received.

Ask for co-worker support:

The patient may find his co-workers as a source of support during and after prostate cancer. Accordingly the patient can share about his situation as much as he wishes to.

Supportive working environment attributes a good portion of the patient’s emotional and health healing.

Investigating work related benefits early after diagnosis and keeping communication open at work place keeps peace of mind.

Facing a prostate cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. The stress level of the patient may skyrocket. The patient may worry about finances and ask himself my questions. With education and supportive care the patient would be able to cope with many issues both physical and emotional.

The most important step is to seek help as soon as possible the patient feels it hard to cope with this illness. Taking action early enables the patient to understand and deal with many effects of this disease.

Some tips to get started:

The patient should not hesitate to ask his doctor, nurse or other healthcare provider to repeat and explain any instruction or medical terms. His medical team should always be available to answer his questions and address his concerns.

The patient should make use of resources and services offered by his hospital and community. Learning about the disease would make him feel more at ease with his treatment.

Patient should ask his family and friends help him sort through information he receives.

A discussion with other patients and their families would help a lot.

Some sources of help are available to provide support to patient and families. These include:

Social workers:

These professional help to diminish the concerns of the patient and his family may have about diagnosis, treatment or personal situation. They can also provide education, counseling about lifestyle changes and referrals to community or national agencies and support groups.

Individual Counseling:

Sometimes the patient may have problems that are better settled in a one to one setting. Individual counseling helps in expressing sensitive private feelings in about the illness in a better way.

Healthcare providers design strategies that help the patient to cope with his illness and improve his quality of life.

Support groups:

They are very useful. They share the patient and his families experience and provide them with an environment that helps them to deal with their illness and condition in a new way. The patient and his family gain strength in knowing that they are not facing hardships alone.

Financial Counselors:

Financial counselors are available through the hospital where the patent is being treated. They can help answer question related to financial issues or Medicare.  They help the patient in arranging finance for his treatment and also in choosing the right kind of health policy.

When your partner has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, the whole world around you seems to change. You and your partner may feel afraid, overwhelmed and confused. You will undoubtedly need to take more responsibilities.

Learn what to expect:

The step you should take as a partner of a man with prostate cancer is to know about the disease. Prostate cancer and its treatment can cause many side effects that you should be prepared for. These can include:

  • Surgery or radiation therapy may make your partner infertile. If you and your partner are planning to have a child then you should investigate such option as sperm banking before he undergoes treatment.
  • Impotence is common after treatment. It may be temporary or permanent. This changes your sex life.
  • Lack of control over urination and bowel problems are the side effect of surgery and radiation treatment. Try to be patient and be by his side at this time.
  • Your partner experiences numerous hormonal changes after a hormonal therapy. These include loss of weight and muscles, tiredness, low sex drive and hot flashes. Convince him to see the doctor for some exercise and diet chart to gain weight and muscles. Some subtle changes too like loss of memory and multi-tasking difficulties may also arise. Empower yourself to deal with the situation and help your partner know when and how to take action.

Be your partner’s primary caregiver:

Offer lots of encouragement to your partner. Make him feel that he is still a whole person and that it would take time for his emotional wounds to heal. Make sure that he eats properly, gets enough rest and does not stress himself too much. Be available to your partner as much as you can. Encourage him by accompanying him to the treatment sessions and tests. Make sure he knows that you want to be part of the process.

Encourage him to look forward to the life he can enjoy once his treatments are completed and successful. Help him in regaining his strength so that he can go about his daily living.  Meditation and exercise would help both partners to adjust and accept low sex life after the treatment.