Simon said “I was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the age of 50. I’d had no symptoms, but I knew a bit about prostate cancer and I knew being 50 I was at a higher risk.
“After careful consideration, I decided I would have surgery at Guy’s Hospital, in London. At my first clinic appointment, I met my CNS. Before my procedure, she briefed me on what was going to happen and she and her nursing colleagues ran a three-hour seminar for all the men having surgery the following month. This session helped me prepare for treatment. I talked to other men and their partners and having a group session meant there was always someone who asked the questions other men were too embarrassed to ask. This was just as valuable to me as post-op support.
“I saw the same CNS before and after my surgery. She was there when I was discharged and at my two follow-up appointments. I had her email address and her 24-hour contact number to use after I was discharged. I got in touch a couple of times about minor concerns. Having that same point of contact each time and knowing I could access immediate advice, out of hours, made me immediately more confident of my situation. I felt very much supported.”
The value my CNS added
Simon said “Clinical nurse specialists are so important to support men, like me, who’ve been through or are living with prostate cancer. They ease your concerns in ways that cannot be measured and make our lives simpler, at what can be a stressful time. Those lives are not just the lives of us, as patients but those of our partners and family. Knowing that there was a nurse with specialist training who was part of my treatment and care, as a patient, provided me with immense reassurance.
“I’ve had no issues since my surgery in 2010, but I’m still in contact with my CNS. I’m now a personal trainer and soon will qualify as a cancer exercise rehabilitation specialist. I’m going to be helping the CNS who supported me, to write exercise advice and plans for her current and future patients. Between us we are going to give even more support to other men who have prostate cancer.”