Let’s face it. Prostate Cancer is a “Guy Thing.” It’s an extremely common cancer as men get older. Luckily, in recent years, with effective prostate cancer screening, more men have been diagnosed while the cancer is small enough to be treated or cured. But guys will be guys. There are sexual side effects associated with prostate cancer treatment, whether the treatment is surgery or radiation. And many guys simply don’t want to talk about it.
The wife of a prostate cancer survivor, Cindie Hubiak, is out to help married couples navigate through the ups, downs and sexual frustrations associated with the disease. Hubiak, a Scottsdale, Arizona-based author and co-founder of Solutions for Intimacy, has written A Woman’s Guide to Thriving after Prostate Cancer.
Nearly one in six men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year in the United States. Treatment can lead to unpleasant side effects, such as erectile difficulty. Hubiak, noticing there were very few prostate cancer resources for women, decided to spark a dialogue, and help married couples face the disease.
Hubiak, in an interview with Men and Health: It’s a Guy Thing, says it was time to write this book. “Steve (her husband, diagnosed in 2007) and I had struggled so much with how prostate cancer had impacted our relationship that it was an important topic for me to write about, for my own healing.”
Hubiak recalls meeting a woman at a class called “Men and Marriage.” She says the woman and her husband had divorced after 16 years because of his prostate cancer. According to Hubiak, “They could not get their relationship back together. I told Steve this just isn’t right. Relationships should not break up because of prostate cancer. Women should not have struggles with their sexuality. What can we do to help?
“For me as a woman, it was all about Steve’s health. Let’s get him healthy, cancer free and treat it. Once that happened, though, I realized I had a whole lot of healing to do myself. I needed to do a lot of grieving, I needed to look at sex in a whole new way. I had to learn some new skills to support Steve…Men don’t tend to want to grieve and they may feel that’s not masculine,” says Hubiak.
According to Hubiak, “Steve retreated and withdrew from me. I now realize that was his way of surviving. He needed to take care of himself so that he could then be around to take care of me later. I didn’t understand that. It was extremely isolating and frightening for me.” Hubiak says this is a similar occurrence among men, according to women she has talked with.
Steve, also interviewed by Men and Health, says, “I’ve always been a rather private person. This was not something that I felt I wanted to share with a lot of people.” He says his relationship with Cindie was affected because Cindie had difficulty getting the support she needed from her friends.
Cindie and Steve decided to create a business called Solutions for Intimacy to help men and women who face prostate cancer
In A Woman’s Guide to Thriving after Prostate Cancer, readers will learn how to honor and grieve losses, effectively communicate desires, build deeper physical, emotional and spiritual connections, and improve intimacy through tantric principles.
Hubiak says, “Sex is different after prostate cancer. I believe it can be much better than it was before. Steve and I have a much improved sex life…Women can really learn to take the lead after prostate cancer.”