In 1992, Iona's husband was being treated for prostatitis when doctors discovered that his prostate specific antigen (PSA) was elevated. Soon after, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He was only 55 years old.
After receiving the diagnosis, Iona and her husband began talking to doctors and researching surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. The process was overwhelming. Iona relied on a close friend who was a surgeon. "He was closely tied to studies being done in Switzerland," she says.
Iona says it's necessary to research all available treatment options. "It is important to educate yourself so you can make informed decisions about treatment and not be driven by fear and isolation," Iona suggests. "You need to look at all the options because what's right for one person may not be right for everyone."
Iona also stresses the importance addressing emotional needs because prostate cancer is more than just a physical disease. "Prostate cancer can be both emotionally devastating and humiliating," Iona explains. Even in the best of marriages, erectile dysfunction and incontinence can be cause for concern.
Iona's advice to other women dealing with a spouse's diagnosis: "Listen and allow your husband to express his fears. Go to doctor's appointment, meet physicians and take part in discussions of treatments and risks." Above all, she says, "Be supportive and have open and honest communication."
Iona is willing to talk to others who are affected by prostate cancer, to share her story with them and to listen. To contact Iona, please call HealthEast Cancer Care at 651-232-7970.