Support for friends and family

It’s natural to want to do everything you can to support a loved one with prostate cancer. Emotional support from family and friends can really help someone with prostate cancer.

If you are worried about saying the wrong thing, be honest about this with your loved one. It could open up a conversation that helps them tell you what support they need from you. You may also find it helpful to read our common thoughts and feelings for men with prostate cancer. Having a better understanding of these emotions can help you to support them.

Bad days are normal

Your loved one will probably have good days and bad days. You may find that some days their mood is low, and they may not want to communicate. It’s important to recognise that ‘bad days’ are normal. This can be distressing to see, and you may feel guilty that you can’t help or provide the support you want to. But talking to your loved one about how you’re feeling can help. If you don’t feel you can do this, try talking with a friend or family member.

If you’re concerned that your loved one is constantly feeling low, it can help to talk to someone who’s trained to listen, like a counsellor, GP or nurse. You can also speak to our Specialist Nurses about how you’re feeling.

Ask how you can help

If your loved one has prostate cancer, you may also be struggling with the diagnosis. It can be difficult knowing how best to support your loved one while managing your own feelings and emotions. It can help get things out in the open. There is no right or wrong thing to say – sometimes you might just need to listen. Macmillan Cancer Support has information about how to talk to someone with cancer.

Your loved one or friend may already know how you can support them. Asking them what they need or how you can help, can help them to feel more in control.

Some people find it hard to accept emotional support, or may not want it. Try not to take this personally. Respect their decision but let them know if they change their mind, you are there to listen and support them.

Try offering support in a different way, you can also help by offering practical support. This could include:

  • driving them to their GP or hospital appointments
  • making meals or doing their shopping
  • picking up prescriptions or medicines
  • helping around the house, for example cleaning.

My loved one has died, how can I get support?

When someone close to you dies, it can be very upsetting and difficult to come to terms with. Feelings of grief and sadness may be difficult to deal with. You may be experiencing feelings of loneliness, uncertainty, fear and even anger. These are all normal emotions and feelings to experience. You are not alone, there are ways you can feel more supported.

For many people, being with others helps them manage their feelings and come to terms with their loss. Friends and family can be a great source for support and comfort during this difficult time.

Getting Support

You can call our Specialist Nurses on 0800 074 8383, or join our free online community. Remember, there’s always someone you can talk to.

You could try contacting your local community palliative care team, who can provide support if you’ve lost a loved one. If your loved one died in hospital, you may be able to get support from the hospital’s palliative care team.

You may also want to contact other organisations who specialise in helping people deal with loss and grief. Cruse Bereavement Support have information and a free helpline for anyone who is dealing with bereavement or grief. Sue Ryder has an online community where you can chat to others who are experiencing grief. Samaritans and Mind also have information and support if you’re finding things difficult to deal with.


Updated January 2019 | To be reviewed January 2021