THE Cairns area is receiving funding for a specialist prostate cancer nurse to provide support for patients, their families and carers.
Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch MP said prostate cancer was the most common form of cancer affecting Australian men (excluding non-melanoma skin cancers), with 19,821 men diagnosed in 2010.
“The good news is that prostate cancer has a high survival rate and by basing specialist nurses in areas of most need, where there are links to cancer treatment services, these nurses will enable a greater coordination of care for men diagnosed with prostate cancer, especially those in rural and regional areas,” Mr Entsch said.
“Prostate cancer nurses are specially trained registered nurses who provide information, care and support to men with prostate cancer and their families and carers, within a multidisciplinary health care team.
“They are a crucial central point of contact for patients, their families and carers, by coordinating access to care and services such as physiotherapy and counselling.”
It is intended that the Prostate Cancer Nurse Initiative will result in improved access to multidisciplinary specialists and services, continuity of care for prostate cancer patients throughout the entire cancer journey, as well as coordination of care from a prostate cancer diagnosis onwards.
The Government has committed $6.2 million (GST exclusive) from 2013-14 to 2016-17 to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) to select sites, facilitate training and fund the placement of the 14 new positions.
The initiative will more than double from 12 to 26 the number of prostate cancer nurses employed through a pilot programme currently being run through the PCFA and the Movember Foundation. Approximately 4,000 men and their families are expected to benefit from a Commonwealth-funded prostate cancer nurse over the four year programme.
“The five year relative survival rate of 92 per cent for prostate cancer means there is a large group of men who have been diagnosed and treated, who are now either living with prostate cancer or have survived treatment and its side effects,” Mr Entsch said.
“Increasing the number of specialist prostate cancer nurses means more men will have access to nurses, who will provide vital information, care, and practical and emotional support to men diagnosed with prostate cancer, their families and carers.”