More than 50 of our membership gathered at the Royal’s Education Centre to find out more about what the Royal is doing to help patients who have suspected prostate cancer or who receive a Prostate cancer diagnosis.

Prostate cancer is  the most common cancer in men and the second most common cancer related death in men. Around 182 diagnoses are made per 100,000 in the UK with 23 deaths per 100,000 every year. Statistically, the risk of prostate cancer is 12% with a 3% risk of death, approximately 70-80% of men in their 80's have a small prostate cancer and many never know.

The first presentation was made by our Consultant Urologist and Prostate Cancer Lead Kate Linton who went on to explain that prostate cancer risk increases with age. It also has a high survival rate with 84% of diagnosed men living with it for ten years or more compared to just 4% for lung cancer and 56% for bowel cancer.

It also seems that the incidence locally over time is increasing with data in 2001 suggesting 129 cases per 100,000 population increasing to 208 cases by 2014. This increase in incidence is likely due to the fact that there is increased screening with PSA testing, as PSA testing is also increasing over time locally.

Whilst the blood test available to help diagnose prostate cancer, a blood test known as PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) is not the most accurate indicator (around 3 in 5 men with a raised PSA level will not have cancer – NHS Direct), not all men with a raised PSA need to go on and have a biopsy.  We can now risk stratify men by the use of a pre-biopsy MRI scan,  some men with low risk MRI's can safely avoid a biopsy, and an MRI allows us to target areas in the prostate that are more likely to be cancer, and so improve detection rates. 

We heard from a patient who was one of those diagnosed with Prostate cancer who very bravely recounted his story. He reiterated that the  short period of time between test and diagnosis helped to reduce the levels of stress and anxiety, and being informed every step of the way with a care treatment plan in place helped to reassure him about how his condition could be treated. The phrase he used was “urgency without panic” which perfectly describes the way the team look after patients with a mixture of care, compassion, professionalism and clinical efficiency.

Kate went on to talk about how some stable prostate cancer patients can be remotely monitored safely so that, once treatment begins and the patient is comfortable with what they need to do, they can self-manage their treatment instead of being ‘looked after’ in the more traditional sense. All patients will continue to have access to consultant clinics at any time if they need that support or if anything changes. 

We then heard from Sian Woodcock who is the Trust’s Macmillan Information and Support Associate and is based in the NGS Macmillan Information Centre. Sian has a wealth of support material and face to face advice at the NGS Macmillan Unit. This includes practical information to complement the clinical advice given by the urology team and emotional support, signposting to support groups and much more.

The evening was completed with a presentation from Rebecca Turner from STAMINA which is a research study in partnership with Nuffield Health. It is a major study into how exercise and lifestyle changes can combat the side effects of ADT (Androgen Deprivation Therapy) which is a treatment for prostate cancer. It looks to see how we can embed exercise into the NHS prostate cancer care pathway and the Royal is an exemplar site for this study.

STAMINA involves training the clinical teams to recommend exercise, make exercise referrals and support exercise in patients. It also helps to create exercise programmes tailored for individuals to allow them to get the best out of the programme, recognising that every patient is different.

The event was very well received with a few questions from the assembled membership to round off what was another very successful membership event.

To view all pf the pictures from the event, you can see them by clicking here