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Medics aiming a new prostate cancer treatment


By April Murphy

A new clinical position statement is set to change how the before and aftercare of prostate cancer is managed in Australia.

Professor Jeff Dunn, CEO of the PCFA (Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia) has dedicated his career to the development of novel supportive care strategies that underpin cancer prevention and improve community awareness of the disease.

“While survival rates for prostate cancer are high, the diagnosis itself is life stress that is often followed by challenging treatment-related symptoms and heightened distress,” says Mr Dunn.

Mr Dunn is an internationally recognised researcher and is working with survivors to create guidelines to improve post-diagnosis care.

“Ultimately, the position statement should result in improved awareness of the daily struggles that accompany prostate cancer survivorship, and much greater regard for each man’s right to enjoy a satisfactory quality of life,” he said.

The statement to be implemented focuses on screening for distress and psychosocial care for men with prostate cancer with the monograph: A Psychosocial Care Model for Men with Prostate Cancer.

“This is the next frontier in innovative care. Our goal is not just to defeat prostate cancer, but to restore hope in a future free from both physical and psychological pain” says Dunn. 

The initiative is the culmination of many years of work with experts across clinical and allied health fields, to improve care and better support those affected by the disease. 

The position statement recommends that:

  • After the diagnosis of prostate cancer and regularly through treatment and surveillance, the patients should be screened for distress and their psychological and quality of life concerns should be explored.
  • Men who have high levels of distress should be further evaluated for anxiety and depression and evidence of suicidality.
  • Patients who have high distress or need for support should be referred to evidence‐based intervention matched to their individual needs and preferences for support.
  • Research is needed to develop effective methods of intervention for partners and couples in which the man has a diagnosis of prostate cancer.
  • Investment in prostate cancer survivorship research is a national health priority.
  • Clinicians and health professionals are encouraged to apply a new comprehensive model of care for men affected by prostate cancer, screening men for distress so that psychological and quality of life concerns can be identified and managed.

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