Meet the vital clinical staff we fund, with support from Movember, to help smooth and improve the process of treatment for men with prostate cancer.

23 Nov 2015

You might be surprised to know that, as well as cutting edge research into prostate cancer, we also fund specialist, frontline clinical staff around the UK. Thanks to the support of the Movember Foundation and Royal Mail, we've allocated £4million since 2012 through a programme that provides a total of 59 nurses, physiotherapists, radiographers and support-workers dedicated to helping men with prostate cancer.

Some have established community clinics or a remote monitoring scheme, so men don't have to travel so far for specialist services. Others provide assessments and workshops to ensure men with prostate cancer are being suitably supported or are better informed about what to expect from surgery. Many more are delivering Living Well Courses, which give men a better understanding of their condition, how to manage side-effects, and where to get support if issues arise.

We've been evaluating these roles since they started, and the results we're seeing are really positive:

  • More than 26,000 people have been supported by our professionals.
  • Waiting times between biopsy and histology have reduced by 41% in Fife, from 22 days to 13.
  • A physiotherapy rehabilitation service in London has reduced lower urinary tract symptoms by 57%.
  • 71% of those attending a Living Well course have shown increased activity levels as a result.

Overall, our programme is helping us to develop a better understanding of what works in improving services and outcomes for men, which we'll use to encourage health and social care providers across the UK to also put into practice.

Meet the professionals...

Lucy Brooks, Prostate Cancer Survivorship Navigator

Lucy Brooks

"I qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 1996 and have a passion for enabling people to lead purposeful active lives.

"In my current role at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, I support men through their recovery, conduct holistic needs assessments, offer practical and emotional support, and signpost them to appropriate services. This has made me acutely aware how great the need for emotional and psychological support is and how this is often overlooked.

Unless men are given the time and opportunity to have open discussion, feelings of worry, sadness, fear or anxiety will often not be raised.

"Unless men are given the time and opportunity to have open discussion, feelings of worry, sadness, fear or anxiety will often not be raised. The perception that ‘you’ve just got to get on with it’, coupled with health professional’s frequent misconception that men don’t like talking about their feelings, means these issues can often be overlooked. In reality, every holistic needs assessment I have conducted highlighted some form of emotional concern that could be addressed by offering time to talk, a point of contact, or referral for formal psychological support.

"Seeing men take positive actions to improve their lives and wellbeing after cancer is what drives me to champion the need for survivorship roles."

Roger Wheelwright, Prostate Cancer Nurse Specialist

Roger Wheelwright

"I've seen an increase in the number of younger men presenting with either advanced prostate cancer or the disease spreading quickly after they have become known to the clinical team. This is particularly true of African Caribbean men, who are three times more likely to develop prostate cancer than white men of the same age. This means that 1 in 4 Black men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lives. They also develop the disease much younger.

We're striving to see that no man dies from prostate cancer.

"There is an ongoing need to raise the awareness of these risks within the African Caribbean community. At John Taylor Hospice, we will do this by engaging directly with them, providing workshops and educational material. We will also recruit and train ‘Health Activists’ from the local community to help breakdown the barriers relating to prostate cancer and encourage individuals to get themselves ‘checked out’.

"3,700 men in the West Midlands are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year, and nearly 1,000 will die from the disease. We're striving to see that no man dies from prostate cancer."

Helen Whitney, Specialist Physiotherapist

Helen Whitney

"Improving rehabilitation for men with prostate cancer in East London seemed like a tall feat when I started in March 2014. In my previous job as an Oncology Physiotherapist, I had worked predominantly with breast cancer and the physical impairments it’s treatment caused. I realised there was an opportunity to equalise this gender imbalance and try to make some sustainable changes for men living with or beyond prostate cancer.

I've treated hundreds of men and seen the benefit physiotherapy has.

"What has become strikingly obvious is the range of physical impairments prostate cancer and its treatment causes and how this affects men’s social lives, physical activity levels, mood and overall quality of life. Oncology physiotherapy aims to empower these men, train, exercise and manage these issues while supporting them to process the physical changes their bodies are going through.

"18 months later and I've treated hundreds of men and seen the benefit physiotherapy has. I'm now focusing on raising the profile of oncology physiotherapy and promoting the need for their inclusion into the treatment pathway of prostate cancer."

Dr Steve LeungConsultant Urological Surgeon

Dr Steve Leung

"Approximately 250 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year in Fife. Patient feedback [at Victoria Hospital in Kirckcaldy] highlighted the need for a single point of contact and improvement in the co-ordination of the many steps in their diagnostic and treatment pathway. Patients experienced long waits for their results due to pressures on consultant clinics.

"Funding from Prostate Cancer UK allowed for a complete redesign of our pathway. The clinical nurse specialist they funded became the first point of contact at the prostate biopsy clinic, offering knowledge and support during this uncertain time. Patients returned within two weeks to dedicated clinics for the results, and additional tests were organised in a timely manner. Support was provided during and after treatment, allowing informed choices to be made regarding their treatment and improved confidence in self management.

Funding from Prostate Cancer UK allowed for a complete redesign of our pathway.

"Audit data of patient outcomes collected throughout the project demonstrated the service changes significantly improved the patient experience, and reduced the waiting times for diagnosis and treatment. This led to the approval of a permanent prostate cancer nurse post within the urology service. Building on the success of this project, additional funding has allowed us to look at ways to improve partnership working with our primary care colleagues to ensure support is available in the community setting."

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