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Published: 16 October 2013

Surrey researchers call for better cancer aftercare

Study reveals more than eight in ten men living with prostate cancer may not be getting the nursing care they need to cope with the life-changing side effects of treatment.

Around 41,000 men in the UK are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year. Survival rates are increasing – yet new research from the University of Surrey, in collaboration with the University of Reading and institutions across Europe, has uncovered a severe lack of support to help men deal with the psychological and sexual problems that can occur after treatment for the disease.

The study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, included a survey of around 1000 men diagnosed with prostate cancer from seven European countries.

It found that while most men received ample nursing care before and immediately after treatment, they were reportedly offered less advice and support for the longer-term effects of prostate cancer. Almost half (45 per cent) of the men said they had no contact with a nurse regarding their psychological and sexual health needs – key problem areas for many men following prostate cancer treatment.

Sara Faithfull, Professor of Cancer Nursing Practice, said:  “This is the first study in Europe to look at the quality of the care for men living with prostate cancer and we’ve found that there is a worrying gap between what prostate cancer patients need and what they are actually getting.

“The results show that long-term care following diagnosis needs to be improved.”

Researchers from the University of Surrey have produced a video featuring men who have had prostate cancer explaining how they have coped with the effects of the disease and its treatment.  

Read more about nursing and healthcare research at Surrey.

Anyone with questions about prostate cancer can call Cancer Research UK’s nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040.

Find out more about Surrey’s pioneering research into prostate cancer detection.