Our Specialist Nurses answer your lockdown queries
As lockdown continues, we want to keep you updated on all the latest healthcare advice. Our specialist nurses are on the case, with regularly updated information and answers to some common questions.
A lot of people are thinking I don’t want to bother my GP, I don’t want to be a strain on the NHS, but they don't need to think like this.
Can I book an appointment with my GP?
Yes, GP's are still having consultations with patients but mainly doing so remotely, over the phone or video calls.
It’s important people stay home where possible, but the main thing is to still contact your GP if something is causing you concern – whether that’s a prostate problem or anything else.
Will I be adding to the strain on the NHS?
No, it’s really important that people keep maintaining their health during this time so that there’s not even more strain on the NHS further down the line. For many health problems, including prostate cancer, it’s important to diagnose them early, when treatments may be more effective.
When should I contact my GP?
You may want to speak to your GP if you’re a man over 50, or from 45 if you have a family history of prostate cancer or you’re a black man.
Or if you’re experiencing any changes in the way you urinate, any back, hip or pelvis pain, problems getting an erection, blood in the urine or semen, or unexplained weight loss. These can all be caused by other health problems, but it’s still a good idea to speak to your GP.
Essentially, the advice is the same as normal – if you’re worried about your risk of prostate cancer or have any unusual symptoms, please contact your GP.
How will the appointment work?
Your GP surgery will arrange an appointment via phone or video call.
It will all be done in private, although you’re welcome to have a family member or friend with you, as you might do at a face-to-face appointment.
You can treat it just like a regular appointment and ask the same questions that you would in person.
More information about coronavirus and prostate cancer.
What will happen if I need a urine or blood test?
If you have any urinary symptoms, your GP may suggest testing your urine to rule out a urine infection.
If so, they’ll probably ask you to drop off a urine sample at the GP surgery. They’ll explain how to collect the urine sample and drop it off safely.
You should be able to have a PSA blood test at your GP surgery, if you decide you want one.
Before booking the blood test, you’ll be asked if you have any possible symptoms of COVID-19 – a high temperature, or a new and continuous cough, or loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.
If you do have any of these symptoms, you’ll need to self-isolate for seven days before having the PSA blood test.
Will I have a DRE?
The GP will sometimes do a digital rectal examination, or DRE, to check if the prostate feels normal.
But at the moment, you’re unlikely to have a DRE. While it can be a helpful test, it isn’t essential and it could spread coronavirus, as tests have shown the virus can be found in people’s bowel movements.
What will happen if I need further tests at the hospital?
If your GP thinks you need further tests, they’ll refer you to see a specialist at the hospital as normal.
You may have a telephone or video call with the specialist, to help them decide whether or not they need to see you in person.
If you do need to visit the hospital, there will be measures in place to lower your risk of catching or spreading coronavirus while you’re there. The hospital should be able to reassure you about this if you’re worried, so do ask them if you have any concerns.
We hope this has helped clear up some of your queries. Our Specialist Nurse team are available Mon-Fri: 9am-6pm, Weds: 10am-8pm. More information on the service and how to get in touch can be found here. Article information correct at time of publication.