Wide Bay region men with prostate cancer and their families now have access to specialised support, thanks to the introduction of a Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurse based at Bundaberg and Hervey Bay Hospital Cancer Care Centres.
New nurse Diana Schulz is part of Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia’s (PCFA) Specialist Nursing Service, working with Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service teams and the community to improve outcomes for men impacted by the disease.
PCFA CEO Professor Jeff Dunn AO said hundreds of men in the area would benefit.
“Prostate cancer is the most common cause of cancer in Australian men, with about 16,700 men newly diagnosed each year. Sadly, each year in Australia about 3,150 men will die from the disease,” he said.
“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. Specialist nurses play a critical role in providing guidance, care and support.”
By 2040, it’s estimated that about 372,000 men will be living with or beyond prostate cancer in Australia, representing a 68 per cent increase from 220,000 today and the greatest number of men or women diagnosed with any single cancer.
“Of concern to the growing burden of prostate cancer on the Australian community, men with a family history of prostate cancer have double the risk of being diagnosed, and men in regional and rural areas of Australia face a 24 per cent higher risk of death,” Professor Dunn said.
Australia has one of the highest rates of prostate cancer in the world, with one in every six Australian men likely to be diagnosed by age 85.
PCFA’s Director of Nursing Programs, Sally Sara, said the new nurse is a welcome addition to the nationwide service.
“From the point of diagnosis, our nurses 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 men and families.
“Good support and connection to information and services is incredibly important in a diagnosis of prostate cancer.
“This commitment from Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service will vastly improve the support available to local men and families impacted by the disease, giving men much greater confidence that they can navigate the challenges of prostate cancer with all the support they need.”
Ms Schulz said she is honoured to be appointed as the Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurse in the Wide Bay region, and support local men impacted by the disease.
“Living with prostate cancer could be considered one of the most vulnerable moments in a man’s life,” she said.
“I feel privileged to play an integral role in the provision of focused and coordinated care that will ensure a seamless experience for the men and families within our community.”
WBHHS Clinical Director of Cancer Care Dr Hayden Christie said about 360 men in the Wide Bay region were diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, and many of them would need ongoing care and support in the days and months after treatment.
“We are proud to partner with Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia to deliver this life-changing service for local men and families,” he said.