Specialist Nurses close care gap for men with prostate cancer


Two in three Australian men with prostate cancer now have access to a local Specialist Nurse, thanks to expansion of the life-changing service run by Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.

Around 260,000 occasions of support have been provided by PCFA specialist nurses since the service was launched 10 years ago.

The service is marking its 10 Year Anniversary today for International Nurses Day, with this year’s theme ‘A Voice to Lead’.

PCFA Chairman, Adjunct Associate Professor Steve Callister, said the service had transformed the landscape for prostate cancer management and treatment in Australia.

“We have grown from just 12 specialist nurses in 2012 to 100 today, with a vision to continue increasing our reach to ensure all men with prostate cancer have access to an expert nurse.

“For every dollar invested in PCFA specialist nurses, at least $1.30 is created in social value, demonstrating the strong public benefit to be gained by broadening PCFA’s important work.

“Men living with prostate cancer commonly have to navigate challenges associated with the short and long-term side effects of their disease. Notably, for men with prostate cancer the service has led to a 60 percent reduction in avoidable Emergency Department presentations, a 56 percent reduction in specialist consultation times, and a 63 percent reduction in rates of missed medical appointments.

“These are very significant outcomes with positive impacts on survivorship and quality of life.”

PCFA CEO, Anne Savage, said demand for the service would continue to grow.

“With an expected 60 percent increase in the number of men likely to be diagnosed over coming years, demand for PCFA specialist nursing support is constantly increasing.

“For men in socio-economic disadvantage or regional and remote areas, a diagnosis of prostate cancer can be isolating and is often aggravated by financial hardship and the tyranny of distance.

“We are throwing our full support behind men and families by putting more specialist nurses on the ground and expanding the care available via our nationwide Telenursing Service.

“Over the past 10 years we have supported around 70,000 patients, offering expert information, advice, and resources so men don’t have to walk this path alone.

“Importantly, our specialist nurses offer a quality of care that no other health professionals can provide, supporting men in the hours, days, weeks, and years after a diagnosis.”

Around 18,000 Australian men are newly diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, and over 3,300 will sadly die from the disease.

“Research has found one in five men with prostate cancer experience anxiety and depression and many men have poorer life satisfaction up to 10 years after their initial treatment,” Ms Savage said.

“Around 43 percent of PCFA nurses are in regional areas, where the need for specialized support is high.

“We’ll continue to invest in this life-changing service so that all men feel supported.”

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