Each year in Australia, close to 3,300 men die of prostate cancer - equal to the number of women who die from breast cancer annually – and a further 20,000 new cases are diagnosed. Despite these figures, men do not have the same consolidated support services as women and often find themselves trying to understand their diagnosis and navigate the medical system on their own.
The introduction of the Prostate Cancer Specialist Nursing Program will offer the thousands of men diagnosed with prostate cancer each year accessible specialist nursing care through the entire cycle of treatment – from immediately after diagnosis through to post treatment support.
The program, launched by Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA), has been made possible through the generous support and fundraising efforts of the Movember Community. Through the power of the Mo, The Movember Foundation has been able to contribute $3.9 million to PCFA to secure the program and recruit its first nurses.
The new service will deliver 13 Specialist Nurses to metropolitan and regional hospitals in the Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia and the ACT.
According to Max Shub, a prostate cancer patient, the new program will certainly help to alleviate some of the uncertainty that follows a diagnosis.
“When you receive a prostate cancer diagnosis, your world turns upside down. Thousands of questions fillyour head and you really do need someone other than your specialist to help you answer these questions. Thinking back to when I was first diagnosed, it would have been fantastic to have had access to a specialist nurse and I’m very grateful that there is now a program in place to provide men like me with more support,” said Mr Shub.
Each nurse will work with the patient’s medical team to provide ongoing support to diagnosed men and their families. Part of the Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurse’s role will be to assist patients in understanding their diagnosis and treatment plan, coordinating their care and access relevant services.
Julie Sykes, PCFA’s National Manager for the Prostate Cancer Specialist Nursing Program, says the service will deliver a new level of care that has been difficult for diagnosed men to access until now.
“Some men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer have found it difficult to access a vital element of care - that is structured contact with a healthcare professional who can guide them through every stage of their prostate cancer journey. These nurses have been specially chosen and trained to fill that role,” said Mrs Sykes.
Jason Hincks, Movember’s COO, says The Movember Foundation is proud to have been part of the program’s development.
“This program demonstrates the tangible benefits that come from Movember for Australian men and families affected by prostate cancer. PCFA and Movember both look forward to seeing the program grow in thefuture,” said Mr Hincks.