Demand for a one-stop clinic for men concerned about prostate cancer has resulted in the number of patients being seen rise by almost 50 per cent in the past year.
As part of its wide and varied mens’ health services, North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust offers a nurse-led one stop service for men who have been referred by their GP.
Operating at Stamford and Rutland Hospital and at Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon, the Fast Track Prostate Assessment Clinic (FTPAC) collectively sees around 55 patients every week.
This number has risen by 48.4 per cent from last year’s figures, following an increase in awareness of prostate cancer and the continued knock-on effect of the Covid-19 pandemic – says the FTPAC team.
And with November marking Mens’ Health Awareness Month – prostate cancer is a key focus.
According to Prostate Cancer UK, one in eight men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime, which if caught early, can be curable.
Carol Edmunds, nurse consultant for urology, is part of North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust team that delivers the fast track service in Stamford and Huntingdon; along with five specialist nurses, radiologists and the MRI team, all overseen by two urology consultants.
She said: “The fast track clinic has seen a rise in the number of patients referred in the past year. Coverage of high profile or celebrity prostate cancer cases often result in greater awareness and therefore more men visiting their GP.
“It is often the case that men are fast-tracked through the clinic and are reassured that there is nothing medically wrong.
“In addition, some men who may have not sought advice during the pandemic are now coming to see us in clinic.
“Like many cancers, prostate cancer does not discriminate, and we are seeing many younger patients.
Carol explained: “The patient pathway normally starts with a visit to the GP, either with a family history of prostate cancer or to request a PSA (a blood test that measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen made by the prostate gland)
“Once a patient is seen by their GP, they are referred to the fast track clinic and receive an appointment usually within two weeks. Within clinic, patients are examined, tests - which could include an MRI scan – are often performed on the same day if necessary.
“Patients are then called normally within two weeks to receive their results, which could include a biopsy, performed by other members of the team,
“If a biopsy is not required, a treatment plan will be confirmed with the patient.”
A recent patient user is 69-year-old Lincolnshire farmer David Goose, who was referred by his GP surgery following a PSA blood test.
He said: “From the initial visit to being seen in the clinic, undergoing tests, a precautionary MRI scan and being told everything was fine took around four weeks in total.
“The service is brilliant, the staff are friendly and efficient and it provided me with peace of mind and reassurance within a relatively short space of time.”
The Trust would like to remind members of the public that this is not a drop in service, and can only be accessed through a GP referral.
Men who are worried about possible signs and symptoms should contact their GP.
Prostate cancer is not always life threatening. But when it is, the earlier it is caught, the more likely it is to be cured. More information is available from Prostate Cancer UK.
Some members of the Fast Track Prostate Assessment Clinic, left to right; Carol Edmunds, Nurse Consultant; Nino Trabajo Health Care Assistant and
Fiona McGregor, Macmillan Urology Oncology CNS.
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