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Meet Penny Brohn UK

Penny Brohn UK is a cancer centre combining a unique range of physical, emotional and spiritual support for wellbeing.

The big idea

Running a series of courses for men living with prostate cancer where survivorship support is currently limited. The courses were designed to help men live with side effects of treatment by providing information and support to meet holistic needs.

Making it happen

The team at Penny Brohn developed a programme of six pilot courses for men living with prostate cancer. The course was based on their existing ‘Living Well with the Impact of Cancer’ programme, and delivered in six locations across the UK where they had identified a particular gap in this type of survivorship support for men with prostate cancer.

The two day residential or three day non residential course was designed to provide tailored and high quality information and support to men and their partners/supporters. Sessions in the course offered practical tools to support recovery, information about the importance of healthy eating and regular exercise, self help techniques to help manage stress and anxiety and information on other sources of cancer information and services.

Finding out what works

The course was evaluated using a Patient Reported Outcome Measure (PROMs) and the Measure Yourself Concerns and Wellbeing (MYCaW) tool to measure outcomes relating to participants’ concerns and wellbeing. Feedback and observations from the project staff were also collated.  The evaluation demonstrated improvements in the participants’ concerns and general wellbeing at the end of the course. The feedback was also incredibly positive: participants appreciated the chance to spend time with others in the same situation, the knowledge gained around the importance of diet, exercise and stress management, and being inspired to make healthy lifestyle changes.

I was VERY happy to have been involved. There are many aspects of my life that will very much improve using guidelines offered. Excellent.

- Course participant

Recruiting patients to the course was not always easy because they were being offered in areas where men weren’t already engaged in services.

We spent a lot of time trying to engage with the wider community. A lot of community engagement work needs to be done to reach out to men not accessing services... it is an enormous task and huge challenge. Initially the course was offered to men only in order to test a different model of support but they soon realised that it was a barrier to them coming on the course.

- Carolyn Foster-Richards, Living Well Development Manager

In addition however, they also found that there was a need to include separate sessions for the men with prostate cancer to enable them to talk about their feelings about their diagnosis, the effects of their treatment and the consequences of the treatment on their sexuality and continence. This is also beneficial for supporters to talk separately about how they have felt in supporting their partners through the cancer journey.