In 2018-19 there were over 15,000 contacts to the Specialist Nurses, making it our busiest year in history. Almost half were from men diagnosed with prostate cancer, but anyone worried about a prostate problem can contact our team; a quarter of contacts were from concerned men. We know that prostate cancer has a huge impact on loved ones too, and the nurses were here for family and friends more than 3,000 times.
The service is paving the way in enabling people to access support however suits them. Our free, confidential telephone service was the most popular way of contacting the Specialist Nurses last year – but it’s not always easy to talk about a prostate problem on the phone. That’s why we offer an online Live Chat service, and anyone can email the team questions at a time that suits them. The team are also active on social media, taking enquiries via Facebook and Twitter.
2018-19 also saw a shift in the ‘typical’ service user, with a rising number of people contacting the nurses for emotional support instead of a specific question. Laura James, Head of Clinical Services, reflects on what this means for our Specialist Nurses and the service:
Last year 9 per cent of people who contacted us were seeking emotional support, the second most popular reason for using our services and the highest proportion to date. This is reflective of increased awareness of prostate cancer, and the anxiety that can accompany high profile news stories or research developments.
The team are a fantastic resource for anyone worried about a prostate cancer, in particular at a time when the NHS is creaking under pressure. We have some exciting plans for our services in the coming years to make sure we’re best meeting the needs of the people who need us. 98 per cent of our service users in 2018-19 would recommend us to someone in a similar situation – testament to the expertise, time and care the Specialist Nurses consistently deliver.
We simply couldn’t provide our services to the extent we do without the generosity of our supporters, so a sincere thank you from me, the team and all those who we’re here for.
The Specialist Nurses are here for anyone affected by prostate cancer or prostate problems on 0800 074 8383 (Monday-Friday: 9am-6pm, Wednesday: 10am-8pm). Find out more about our services.