A new project supporting men with prostate cancer is improving the experiences of hundreds of patients across Fife.
Around 1000 patients and their families have benefitted from the nurse-led initiative, which was introduced in April 2014 and provides a named member of staff to act as a single point of contact throughout prostate cancer treatment.
Funded by an award from the Prostate Cancer UK charity, the initiative allows patients to develop a relationship with their nurse from their very first appointment and keeps both them and their families informed over the direction and progress of their treatment.
Patients first come into contact with their nurse before their initial biopsy, where they are given information about the procedure and what to expect, before a follow-up appointment is made for the delivery of results.
Once these results have been delivered, patients are advised what their diagnosis means and are taken through the various options for treatment.
In addition to this face-to-face contact, the nurse is regularly accessible over the telephone and provides ongoing support, answering questions from patients and their families throughout their care.
Around 250 men in Fife are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year, and a further 600 are on remote surveillance follow-up.
Early indications show the initiative has been a success, with positive results ranging from reduced waiting times to an improved knowledge of prostate cancer amongst patients.
Steve Leung, consultant urological surgeon, who co-manages the project alongside specialist prostate cancer nurse Debbie McCrae, said: “Providing a nurse as a named contact is a real step forward for prostate cancer care in Fife and I have been delighted with its success so far.
“A cancer diagnosis can be an extremely daunting prospect for anyone and, naturally, people have many questions about what this means and the next steps they can take.
“Having a dedicated nurse available to keep patients informed, address any concerns, and provide valuable reassurance is, therefore, extremely useful.
“The success of this service has surpassed my expectations and it has already supported around 1000 patients whose overwhelming feedback has been extremely positive.
“Indeed, regular feedback from patients in Fife shows how highly they value effective communication and being kept in the loop as to their care.
“This project puts communication at its core and I am confident it will go from strength to strength.
“On the basis of the success of this project, we have recently secured additional funding from Prostate Cancer UK charity to fund the post for a further 18 months.”