Stress and prostate cancer:
wives/partners must cope with both
When we think of stress, it’s easy to associate it with outside things like work, family, money, or health problems—such as our loved one’s prostate cancer. But what about the times when we feel anxious for no apparent reason? Where does that worry come from?
The power of the mind
Stress occurs when our bodies react to a perceived problem, threat, or danger that can be real—or imagined.
When the threat is real (like when someone is veering into our lane on the highway), our body reacts with a surge of stress hormones—such as adrenaline and cortisol—that gives us the energy and alertness we need to quickly steer the car away from being hit. Once the danger has passed, our heart stops racing, our muscles loosen, and our blood pressure returns to normal again.
But sometimes our bodies react to internal fears or worries that can cause us to have the same surge of hormones. When this continues over time, the effects can wreak havoc on our bodies and our minds.
Read more about the
different types of stress
and how they can affect you.
Prostate cancer may be a little of both
If you look at the “top 10 stressful events of life,” illness is number 6. That means having a loved one with prostate cancer is a major source of anxiety. But the way we perceive our loved one’s illness, our outlook on life, how we were brought up, and even our genetic makeup can affect the way we manage it.
Take our quiz
to learn more about these factors.
It’s your cancer too
The fact that the cancer is physically in your loved one’s body (and not yours) doesn’t mean that you are immune to the stress he may be feeling. In fact, studies report that spouses/partners suffer just as much—if not more—stress than their men with prostate cancer. Read why
men and women may react differently.
You may also want to read our article about the
signs and symptoms of depression.
While there are no magical solutions, this section of the web site will help you explore different avenues that may help you cope with the stress that comes with loving a man with prostate cancer, including:
Turn down the volume on your anxious talk
Meditate for 30 days and see the change
Express your anger in healthy ways
Always discuss everything you read on this web site with a qualified medical professional.
Search Our Site
Return from stress and prostate cancer to hisprostatecancer.com homepage
American Psychological Association. The different kinds of stress. http://www.apahelpcenter.org/articles/pdf.php?id=21. Accessed January 15, 2009.
Hagedoorn M, Buunk BP, Kuijer RG, Wobbes T, Sanderman R. Couples dealing with cancer: role and gender differences regarding psychological distress and quality of life. Psycho-Oncology. 2000;9(3):232-242.
Mayo Clinic Family Health Book, 3rd edition. Litin SC, ed. HarperResource. New York, NY: 2003; 1220-1226.
Helpguide. http://www.helpguide.org/mental/stress_signs.htm. Accessed January 15, 2009.