Support Groups

For many men, prostate cancer support groups become their main support system. Properly run, such groups can be extremely helpful in providing information, friendship, and a place to discuss problems and side effects of treatment with others who have been there. Many men with prostate cancer derive satisfaction from helping others who are so affected.

These groups meet monthly or more often in a meeting room made available to them by a local hospital, community center, church, or synagogue. Some are led by professionals, usually a nurse or social worker, while others are led by the members themselves. Some groups are restricted to men only, whereas others include wives and partners. Groups may specialize in one area, such as men who have been recently diagnosed, men with recurrent cancer, or men with problems of incontinence or impotence.

There are two principal networks of prostate cancer support groups in the United States. Us Too, a network of over three hundred groups, is coordinated by Us Too International in Downer's Grove, Illinois. Local support groups can be identified on the Us Too website,, or by calling the Illinois office at 1-800-8087866.

The other network of support groups is Man to Man, coordinated by the American Cancer Society. It was started in 1989 by a man who had grown tired of going to general cancer support groups in which most of the members were women. ''I didn't want to hear

Support Groups

I think it's very valuable to belong to a support group. The more you talk about a problem you have, the easier it is to live with it. And you learn from other people. And if you talk about a subject, you're going to be more at ease, you're going to find out what's best to do and what's not.

—Charles Neider, Adam's Burden about their cervix and they didn't want to hear about my prostate'' was his impetus to begin the all-male groups. Local affiliates can be identified on the American Cancer Society website,, or by calling the society's chapter in your area.

Many communities offer the two support groups, and men seeking help may wish to try both to see which better meets their needs. Support groups in Canada can be identified on the website of the Canadian Prostate Cancer Network,

In summary, a support system is essential to assist you through prostate cancer. However, you are the key to developing that support, and it is primarily your responsibility to put it together. Family, friends, coworkers, and support group members can all be extremely helpful if you let them. The various members of your support system, in fact, are the initial elements in your healing process. Richard Handy described it nicely when he likened healing to the weaving of a tapestry:

When a weaver first threads his loom, those individual bits of colors dotted at different locations seem to make no sense. But in time, with the addition of more strands and different loom settings, inchoate figures begin to emerge and grow into definite shapes. Only when the tapestry of my healing had been completed and I had stepped back several years later to see it completely, did the intricate architecture of its patterns, their interwoven themes and feelings, become clearer and better understood.18


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