How Partners Can Help Detect Prostate Problems Sooner

5 min read

How Partners Can Help Detect Prostate Problems Sooner

People tend to notice changes in their bodies before others do. However, there might be instances where the changes are not as obvious, and a partner notices them first. 

You can easily notice if your partner looks pale, tired, or behaves differently, as you are likely familiar with their moods, habits, and appearance. This familiarity can help you identify health issues when something seems off, which is especially important since early action on any medical condition usually results in better outcomes.

If you notice your partner is experiencing something new related to their urinary or sexual health, try to encourage him to see a doctor to have it checked out. It could be a non-cancerous condition, or it can be a lifesaving appointment that detects prostate cancer early when it’s easier to treat.

Pay Close Attention to the Known Patterns of Your Partner

As a partner in the relationship, you can be proactive by asking yourself some questions such as: 

  • Is your partner experiencing fatigue due to frequent trips to the bathroom during the night? Is this a new pattern of behavior? 
  • Has your partner complained of pain during urination or ejaculation? Has he expressed other discomforts or physical symptoms, such as back or pelvic pain? 
  • Do you notice urinary urgency in your partner, meaning that when he notices he has to go, it has to be right away? 
  • Has he complained about not feeling complete relief after using the bathroom? 
  • Have there been sudden changes in your sexual activity or recent issues surrounding erectile dysfunction?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, it's best to encourage your partner to see a doctor. While these are symptoms associated with prostate cancer, it doesn’t mean that cancer is causing them. Other health conditions may cause some of these symptoms, but a proper diagnosis is crucial. If any of these symptoms are combined with a family history of prostate or breast cancer, it's even more important that they consult with a doctor as soon as possible.

Read our related blog: Frequent Urination and Prostate Cancer: Is There a Connection? 

Encourage Prostate Checkups

While prostate cancer is usually found in men 65 and older, it can affect younger men, including those with family history and other risk factors that can be controlled, such as obesity, smoking, and chemical exposures. If you or your partner is a man age 45 or older, discuss prostate cancer screening during your next check-up.

It’s understandable if your partner feels uncomfortable seeking medical advice on prostate-related issues or even talking about prostate cancer screening. Encourage him to make the appointment or make it for him at a time that he agrees to. It may also help to remind your partner that taking care of his health will give you peace of mind.  

To ensure your partner's appointment is as efficient and productive as possible, here are some helpful tips: 

  • Sit down together and create a list of all the medications he is taking and any questions he should ask the healthcare provider.
  • Write down the family history of parents, siblings, aunts, and uncles who have had prostate cancer or breast cancer. In some cases, there is a genetic connection. 
  • If you and your partner share the same medical provider, consider scheduling appointments on the same day and traveling together to make the process easier.

Prostate Cancer Screening

Depending on the risk factors, doctors recommend prostate cancer screening starting between 40 and 50 years old. This typically includes: 

  • A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test measures the level of PSA, a substance produced by the prostate, in the blood. High levels can indicate a medical condition resulting in too much PSA in the blood. 
  • A digital rectal examination (DRE) involves examining a man’s prostate through the rectum to feel any lumps. This is the only way the doctor can feel a lump on the prostate.

If no lumps are found, a high PSA test result is not an automatic cancer diagnosis. There are quite a few non-cancerous conditions that can also cause a high PSA level and would also need treatment from a doctor. You’ll likely be retested in the next few months to see if it’s returned to normal or continues to rise. 

This is also a good time to talk to the doctor about anything unusual, such as frequent bathroom trips, new erectile dysfunction, or any of the other unusual activities related to urinary health or sexual health your partner may have noticed. 

If the PSA results are higher than normal after a few blood tests, a prostate biopsy may be needed to see if there are cancer cells present. 

What’s Next if Prostate Cancer Is Diagnosed?

For early-stage prostate cancer that appears to be growing slowly, the doctor may first recommend active surveillance. With active surveillance, treatments are delayed for a period of time. A PSA test is run every 3-6 months, and a biopsy may be repeated to see if there are more cancer cells in the prostate than what was in the previous biopsy.

If cancer is at a later stage when it’s found, treatments may need to begin right away. The right treatment plan varies by patient. It’s important to consult with an oncologist who specializes in prostate cancer about which treatments are best – even before surgery. 

Read our related blog: Treating Prostate Cancer: Know Your Options Beyond Surgery

Prostate cancer has one of the highest survival rates of any cancer and can be cured if it's detected early. Today, even men diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer can have a better outcome thanks to improved treatment options. 

Read our related blog: Cutting-Edge Therapy for Advanced Prostate Cancer

Support Your Partner through Communication & Love

Prostate cancer can have an impact on sexual intimacy, which makes it crucial to discuss your thoughts and feelings about sex and the various ways of experiencing pleasure. It is important to have open and honest conversations about your concerns. Mindfulness techniques and gentle touching can often provide the necessary reassurance to create renewed intimacy and an even closer bond. 

Prostate Cancer Treatment in Colorado

If you or your loved one recently received a prostate cancer diagnosis, the specialists at Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers can help you create a tailored treatment plan. Especially when found early, surgery may not be necessary. Be sure to evaluate your options before deciding your next steps.

Prostate cancer specialists are available at RMCC locations throughout the Colorado Front Range, including Boulder, Colorado Springs, and Denver. Request an initial consultation or a second opinion so you can have complete confidence in the recommended treatment plan.