Tuesday 06 February 2024
Susan Long â€“ Maggie's
Tuesday 06 February 2024
This monthâ€™s blog has been prompted by a family memberâ€™s recent cancer diagnosis.
With one in two of us predicted to have a cancer diagnosis at some point, then itâ€™s not surprising that we all have a personal contact with cancer.
What has been interesting (from a personal perspective) is witnessing the male emotional response to a cancer diagnosis, first hand.
It echoes the responses and behaviours my colleagues and I see, and help with, on a daily basis â€“ and is still not always acknowledged or understood.
Put simply, most of us women want to talk about our emotions, whilst men donâ€™t.
That is over simplification, I realise, and an area of huge debate, but I thought Iâ€™d have a look at how men perhaps deal with and process a big emotional topic such as cancer.
How cancer affects men emotionally
Pent up emotion can lead to stress, sleeplessness, constant tiredness and irritability. This tends to lead to behaviours which we may all recognise:-
What you can do
If you identify this in yourself, or males affected by cancer around you, it could be helpful to think about accessing additional support â€“ talking to someone about what is going on, and recognising what might be triggering these non-coping strategies.
Maybe a chat to a friend or family member you can trust, or talking through how youâ€™re feeling with your GP, specialist nurse or here at ²Ñ²¹²µ²µ¾±±ðâ€™s.
There are practical courses and workshops, as well one-to-one support, available, and it's not seen as 'unmacho' to ask about help in addressing emotions.
Support groups, both online and face to face can help too, where men can address their issues in a way they feel comfortable with.
I've been looking at menâ€™s cancer forums which generally show incredible emotional depth but blended in with humour, and much factual information. (I think men cope by being practical, and focused - maybe going back to their â€˜hunter/gathererâ€™ days.)
Meanwhile, as a woman trying to help a family member, I've learned some useful lessons.
The men in our lives may not necessarily want to, or be able to react or talk about cancer related matters in the open way we'd expect.
It doesn't mean that they haven't heard the information, or understood it...but are possibly processing it all, and compartmentalising it, to be discussed when they are ready.
Originally written by Sue Long, Cancer Support Specialist. Updated February 2024
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