The Clinical Nurse Specialist

Urological Clinical Nurse Specialists play an important role as keyworkers in caring for a prostate cancer patient. They have specialist knowledge which can be invaluable to a patient and his family, enabling them to ask detailed questions which they may feel uncomfortable posing to a consultant, with whom they will generally spend less time. Similarly, nurse specialists should be on hand to help manage more complex symptoms or side effects associated with prostate cancer.

Most Urology departments have specialist nurses dealing with incontinence and erectile dysfunction problems. Prostate cancer is by far the most common form of tumour for which a urological nurse specialist will be responsible. Unfortunately there is a shortage of these nurses across the country.

The Improving Outcomes Guidance for Urological Cancers is explicit on the importance of Nurse Specialists:

“From the time of diagnosis, each patient should have access to a specialist cancer nurse who can offer psychosocial support and continuity of care. Patients should, whenever possible, be offered contact details for others who have experienced similar cancers or treatments.”

The 2019 NICE guideline also states:

“Support people and their partners or carers in making treatment decisions, taking into account the effects on quality of life as well as survival.”

“A Urologist or specialist nurse should advise people with prostate cancer about potential longer-term adverse effects of treatment and when and how to report them.”

You are only able to make an informed decision if you have been given and understand the full facts about your cancer by a consultant or a nurse specialist. The guidelines go on to state:

"Offer people with prostate cancer advice on how to access information and support from websites, local and national services, and from cancer support groups."

A Clinical Nurse Specialist can play a vital role in your cancer journey – make sure one is looking after you!