Online Prostate Cancer Support: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Online Prostate Cancer Support: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Living & Loving with Prostate Cancer

The Good
If you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer, there are a number of fantastic resources available to you. I spent a great deal of time visiting online support forums. What I liked best was the anonymity. You sign in with a screen name, and no one knows who you are. This enabled me to feel comfortable asking embarrassing questions. For example: “Anyone else find themselves urinating during an orgasm?”

I was amazed that I could ask any deeply personal questions and expect that I would receive multiple answers. Help with practical issues was available as well. When I wanted to know about buying diapers, I’d go online to a forum to ask, “What’s the best brand of diaper to buy?” Men would share their experiences and make recommendations.

I can’t say enough about the positive elements of online forms.

The Bad
It took me years to realize that all the support I received online wasn’t helping Brenda at all. In fact, the more time I spent online with other men coping with prostate cancer, the more isolated and alone she felt. There are advantages to attending a person-to-person support group with your partner. Prostate cancer is a couple’s disease, but I felt the issues we were coping with were too embarrassing to discuss in person, so I refused to attend any local support groups.

I believe my relationship with my wife suffered, because I neglected to find places where we’d experience mutual support.

Another online word of caution. Not everything you read, especially when relying on information from other people or from the marketing departments of companies for specific PC treatments, is true or accurate.

The Ugly
I never heard of an internet troll until I visited prostate cancer support forums. An internet troll is someone who joins a group for the sole purpose of starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, or off-topic, messages in an online community. A troll’s goal is to hurt as many people as possible.

I became the target of personal and hurtful attacks. I’ve discovered it’s important to join forums that have a zero tolerance regarding personal attacks and trolls. I appreciate those forums that allow you to block specific individuals from your posts should that become necessary.

Overall, I believe the internet is an amazing source of information and support. Here’s a few of the helpful places I’ve visited:

Note: Prostate Cancer News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Prostate Cancer News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to prostate cancer.

Tagged , , .

Rick Redner received his master’s degree in social work from Michigan State University. He has spent many years working as a medical and psychiatric social worker He is the author of the award winning book I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where's Yours? His second book Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Erectile Dysfunction and Penile Implants won the Beverly Hills International Book Awards in Men's Health in 2016.

One comment

  1. Chris O'Neill says:

    “The Ugly”

    There are also those who are completely self-centred in their attitudes. For example, some men question why you should have any interest in sex at all since they are more than eighty years old and they don’t have any interest in sex. There are men who have had a prostatectomy and had no adverse side effects at all and then declare “this is yesterday’s problem. I don’t what all the fuss is about.” It’s excruciating to hear these claims.

    But the most self-centred of all are the medical practitioners who give you advice that is tainted by financial self interest.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *