Recently, while helping a friend who is suffering from breast cancer research resources, another cancer support group came to mind. in 1998, my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Thanks to the quick diagnosis of the family doctor, he is still healthy at the age of 85. However, those six months of surgery and radiation were very scary. His cancer doctor suggested that he join a group called Man to Man.
I am sure that everyone has heard the statistics that if you are a man and live past the age of 70, there is a 50 percent chance that you will end up being diagnosed with prostate cancer. Those stats seemed a bit high to me, so I researched for true facts. The true statistics are still very high. 17 percent of men will at one time in their lives, be diagnosed with prostate cancer. The more promising statistic is that the survival rate is 97 percent. So many men might end up needing the support of Man to Man. (http://www.fightprostatecancer.org/site/PageServer?pagename=about_home)
Man to Man is of course a cancer support group for men who have been diagnosed or are recovered from prostate cancer. There are presently around 325 chapters of the group. Some of the programs encourage wives and significant others to attend. Other groups form their own separate women support groups. These separate women support groups are called Side By Side. But nonetheless whether attending with the spouse or attending a separate meeting, the program looks at the whole family when treating the prostate cancer patient. When my Father attended his local group in North Carolina, there was no group for women, so my Mother lacked the support that a spouse would now get. (http://headtotoe.apta.org/shc/shc12.htm) (http://www.cancer.org/docroot/ESN/content/ESN_3_1X_Man_to_Man_36.asp?sitearea=SHR)
The group offers several important things to a man having been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Some of the things that they offer include community education, outreach to high risks groups of men and team work with local health care professionals. In addition, the group of course has support meetings and sends out a monthly news letter. They also are actively involved in trying to think of new ways to encourage men to be screened early for prostate cancer. Many men avoid this, just as many women avoid getting screened for breast cancer. (http://www.cancer.org/docroot/ESN/content/ESN_3_1X_Man_to_Man_36.asp?sitearea=SHR)
The group seems to have its strongest support in the state of Florida, listing more than 15 groups throughout the state. I also called one of our local hospitals, Baptist Hospital in Jacksonville Florida, and they transferred me to Patient Support Services. They stated that the North Florida and South Georgia area alone has five support groups. Nothing in the North Florida area was listed on the web site I used for research, so that means there are far more than the 15 that the site listed. (http://www.cancerprofiler.nexcura.com/SupportGroups.asp?Mode=Search&CancerTypeId=1&CB=29660&State=FL#TopMap)
Hopefully you or your loved ones will not be faced with a need for Man to Man. But if you are, it is nice to know they are there. They can be contacted by calling 1-800-227-2345, or you can always visit the American Cancer Society web site at http://www.cancer.org. (http://headtotoe.apta.org/shc/shc12.htm)