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Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurses improving quality of care for cancer patients

Prostate cancer can take a significant toll on all areas of life – including an individual’s physical and mental health, and their relationships.

It’s why the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) has nearly 90 Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurses and Telenurses situated in hospitals and cancer care centres across the country, providing on-the-ground specialist support to help patients, and their families, navigate the unfamiliar journey.

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australian men, with nearly 17,000 men newly diagnosed each year.

PCFA’s Director of Nursing Programs, Adjunct Prof Sally Sara, said having the support of a specialist nurse could vastly improve quality of life and survivorship outcomes for men impacted by the disease.

“From the point of diagnosis, our nurses offer expert education and information about treatment plans, referrals to services both in the hospital and community, and provide an ongoing point of contact and support for men and families,” she said.

“It’s common for patients to struggle with understanding their treatment options and accessing evidence-based information about the pros and cons of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment or hormone therapy.

“But having access to this is incredibly important and gives men greater confidence that they can navigate the challenges of prostate cancer.

“Our research confirms that men who get support from our Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurses and Telenurses are better able to manage their diagnosis and navigate the health system.”

Adjunct Prof Sara said with one in five men with prostate cancer experiencing long-term anxiety and depression, specialist nurses are there to ensure no one goes through a diagnosis alone.

Australia’s only Prostate Cancer Specialist Nursing Service was first launched by PCFA in 2012 and has since expanded from 12 nurses to around 90 nurses.

In early 2021, the charity also launched the nation’s first Prostate Cancer Specialist Telenursing Service, further improving accessibility to support.

Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurses provide:

  • Expert nursing advice during diagnosis, treatment, and recovery
  • Connection to local prostate cancer services
  • Access to local support groups
  • Care and support for partners and families
  • Help with managing treatment side-effects, such as erectile dysfunction and incontinence