Ipswich men with prostate cancer and their families will now have access to more specialised support, thanks to funding from the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA).
Ipswich Hospital Nurse, Stephen Walker, has been appointed as the region’s first official Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurse, joining a network of around 100 PCFA specialist nurses across the country working to improve outcomes for men impacted by the disease.
PCFA CEO Professor Jeff Dunn AO said the new partnership between PCFA and West Moreton Health would provide added benefit to hundreds of men in the area.
“Stephen has been doing tremendous work in the community as a nurse at Ipswich Hospital, so we’re pleased to officially appoint him into the role of Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurse and partner with West Moreton Health to strengthen local support in the area,” he said.
“Prostate cancer is the most common cause of cancer in Australian men, with about 16,700 men newly diagnosed each year.
“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.
“From the point of diagnosis, Stephen will be available to 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.”
By 2040 about 372,000 men will be living with or beyond prostate cancer in Australia, representing a significant increase from 230,000 today.
“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.
“As someone who lives in the local West Moreton area, I see first-hand the need for more support services in this region.”
Mr Walker said he was honoured to join the national team of Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurses and continue to deliver local support across the Ipswich region.
“Prostate cancer care and support is an area that I’m extremely passionate about,” he said.
“Through my role, I hope that men will have greater confidence that they can navigate the challenges of prostate cancer with all the support they need.”
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.
West Moreton Health Chief Executive, Dr Kerrie Freeman, said the role would support hundreds of patients each year.
“There’s an estimated 2,400 men living with prostate cancer in the local region, and an additional 200 diagnosed each year, many of whom 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.”
To find out more, go to www.pcfa.org.au.