With the number of Australian men affected by prostate cancer expected to rise significantly in the next two decades, Sydney Adventist Hospital is taking steps to ease the treatment journey.
It has appointed its first Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurse to boost support for patients in a country where one in six men are expected to be diagnosed with the disease by the age of 85 – one of the highest rates in the world.
Levina Saad will take on the new role at New South Wales' largest private hospital – known as the San – as part of the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia’s Specialist Nursing Service.
“In Northern Sydney alone, around 381 men are diagnosed with cancer each year, and many of them will need ongoing care and support in the days and months after treatment,” she said.
“As a Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurse, I’m here to help them navigate the challenges of a diagnosis and treatment, provide them specialised support, connect them with the right information and become an ongoing point of contact for them.”
Prostate cancer is the most common form of the disease for Australian males, affecting around 220,000 men – a number which is predicted to reach 372,000 by 2040.
Specialist nurses play a critical role in providing guidance, care and support, said Professor Jeff Dunn, CEO of the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA).
“About one in five men with prostate cancer experience long-term anxiety and depression and many will struggle to cope with the challenges of diagnosis and treatment,” he added.
The San's commitment to bring in a specialist nurse would improve the support available to local men and families impacted by the disease, according to the PCFA's Director of Nursing Programs, Sally Sara.
From the point of diagnosis, Ms Saad will 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 patients and their families.
“It gives men much greater confidence that they can navigate the challenges of prostate cancer with all the support they need,” Ms Sara said.