A common bond

February 18, 2016

It isn’t uncommon for patients to feel worried and alone after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. They may wonder what the future holds and often have all kinds of questions about the disease and their treatment. To address these issues, the Institute for Prostate and Urologic Cancer (IPUC) is holding monthly meetings for patients and their families, staying true to its focus on comprehensive care.

“We offer education about issues beyond the basics of prostate cancer because patients and their families already know the basics,” says Karina DiLuzio, program coordinator and group leader.

Meetings are held from 6 to 8 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of every month in room B-507 of the Mayo building. The first hour focuses on education, and the second hour gives patients the opportunity to talk with each other about their experiences.

“Participation is strictly voluntary,” says DiLuzio, “but it’s clear that the patients are able to offer a great deal of support to each other.” A free catered meal is also served, and parking is validated.

Enjoying one another's company

Richard Andolshek, 54, has attended meetings with his wife, Cindy. “When you go through something like prostate cancer, it’s scary and you look for all the support you can get,” he says.“We were so impressed with the way the center handled everything when I went there for consultation and surgery, so we thought if this was another service the center was offering, we should definitely attend.We have found the group to be very beneficial.”

The casual, informal meetings have drawn about a dozen people each month, DiLuzio says, including patients and some partners as well. “I’ve told the patients that this is their group, and they should share their ideas,” she says. “This group is what they want to make it.”

Sharing knowledge

Physicians who have spoken at past meetings addressed chemotherapy, diet and nutrition, incontinence after cancer treatment, and the finer points of PSA (prostate-specific antigen) and Gleason scores. Future topics include erectile dysfunction and minimally invasive surgery, among others.

Patient Andy Geffre, 47, has attended almost all of the meetings. “The group is still in its infancy, but I sense the camaraderie building, and each month we seem to pick up more people,” he says. “Karina does a great job as a leader, and I definitely plan to keep attending.”

- Story courtesy University of Minnesota Foundation