PCaSO Sussex members share experiences of prostate cancer at PLT event

Sussex branch members were out in force on 12 June to attend an education event for approximately 40 GP Nursing staff. The theme for the afternoon was Cancer and PCaSO were asked to provide further insight into living with and beyond prostate cancer for this Protected Learning Time. Jill Gower, the Lead Practice Nurse for High Weald Lewes and Havens Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), approached Debbie Hatfield from the Eastbourne Support Group after seeing the group’s website. Jill asked for more information on prostate cancer and the specific treatments as the nursing staff see many men with prostate cancer attending their GP practices.

The seminar was held at East Sussex National Golf Course near Uckfield in East Sussex and divided into three parts beginning first with Debbie and Chris Cutting, also from the Eastbourne Group. They provided an overview of prostate cancer, its diagnosis and various treatments and outlined what the group does to support men and their families. Then Brian, Jim and Barry gave their personal stories talking about how they were diagnosed, what treatments they opted for and what the choices had meant for them in terms of recovery. Wives Karen and Linda were on hand to add their perspectives. Collectively, they covered high dose brachytherapy, low dose brachytherapy, radiotherapy and laparoscopic surgery together with topics such as dietary changes, bone health and erectile dysfunction.  PCaSO chairman Roger Bacon concluded the session by talking generally about PCaSO and what the charity does including PSA testing.

There were a number of questions from the audience and opportunity to discuss some of the points over tea and coffee afterwards. In addition, PCaSO had a display stand at the venue with a selection of publications and leaflets to take away including the booklet Knowledge Empowers. http://pcasoprostatecancersouth.org/forms-leaflets/knowledge-empowers-full.pdf  This provided opportunity to chat to some of the GPs as well as the Nursing staff.

Protected Learning Time (PLT) is used for staff updating. All the GP surgeries in the CCG close for the afternoon and the different professional groups have learning events. About 80 GPs had a separate session on cancer screening, early diagnosis, cancer survivorship and end of life care. Cancer Research UK spoke to the Nursing staff about bowel cancer screening for the second half of the afternoon. Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support also had displays at the venue.

The PCaSO session was well received with time for some productive conversations. Jill commented that it had reinforced that GP practices can promote the message to asymptomatic men over 50 that they can have a free PSA test if they request it. She also said:

 “I hope you agree it went very well, and there was plenty of engagement and questions....We have had very positive feedback both verbally and in the form of our evaluations, and we can send this onto you in due course. ”

We hope this may lead to further opportunities to share the work of PCaSO and the experiences of men with prostate cancer.

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