The diagnosis of prostate cancer brings with it a number of emotional issues for the patient. These may include: fear of cancer; confronting one's own mortality; quality of life issues such as incontinence and impotence; and the question "why me?" In addition, there is burden of coping with the emotional responses from friends and loved ones which, arising from their concern, can range from fear to seeking to take charge. Added to this is the need to make choices regarding treatment and obtaining information about these. This article is based on a contribution to a symposium on prostate cancer at the Fifth International Conference on Psycho-Oncology and describes a personal experience of confronting these issues. The concept of communities of practice is used to interpret the learning experiences undertaken by the cancer patient.