Prostate Cancer UK has named 22 healthcare professionals as its inaugural clinical champions. Over the next 18 months their task will be to lead improvement projects to transform care for people living with or affected by prostate cancer.
Among these are eight radiologists and radiographers, who will be supported by the charity to drive positive changes to prostate cancer services in their area. The programme will take each champion on an 18-month leadership and development journey, including formal leadership training, individual coaching and ongoing peer support and learning. The aim is to help them deliver a project that will make a real difference to prostate cancer care.
Head of improving care Amy Rylance explained: “Ongoing innovations to prostate cancer services are vital to ensure men can access the highest quality care wherever they are in the UK. Radiologists and radiographers play a pivotal role in the detection of prostate cancer as well as the delivery of effective treatments, which is why we’re delighted to welcome eight future leaders in the field to our clinical champions programme.”
Consultant radiologist Dr Iztok Caglic at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, lead picture, aims to develop a PSA-stratified, one-stop imaging pathway for men with suspected prostate cancer. The novel approach would combine existing pre-biopsy mpMRI with ‘next generation’ whole body MRI to create a one-stop imaging appointment tailored to an individual’s risk. This would speed up the diagnostic pathway and help men start treatment sooner.
Dr Caglic said: “I am looking forward to learning from the other champions, as well as sharing my own insights and ideas, to facilitate best practice in my own centre and elsewhere. I am confident that with their support I will be able to implement large scale changes to our prostate cancer service and make a real difference to men who use it.”
Consultant radiographer Sean Ralph at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust will lead a national improvement project to improve access to penile rehabilitation services for men undergoing radiotherapy and hormone therapy for prostate cancer. He said: “Erectile dysfunction is one of the most common side effects of radiotherapy and hormone therapy. Although we have a range of treatments to help men with erection problems, these issues are often ignored, not asked about, or poorly managed within radiotherapy and oncology teams. This can have a devastating effect on men’s relationships and psychological well-being.
“Through this project, I want to give oncology health professionals locally and across the UK the confidence, knowledge and skills to better manage the sexual side effects of prostate cancer treatments, so more men can experience a fulfilling and enjoyable sex life. As part of the project, I would also like to address the postcode lottery that exists regarding what treatments are available for erection problems and how easy it is to access those treatments that are available in a timely manner.”
Consultant radiologist Dr Oliver Hulson is also at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. He will work alongside colleagues in general practice to address misconceptions regarding overdiagnosis of prostate cancer and the perceived risks of prostate biopsy, to ensure men at higher risk are referred without delay. Dr Hulson commented: “Improving prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment is my passion. We know that earlier diagnosis leads to better outcomes for men, which is why I’m excited to work with GPs to streamline the referral process and help men in Leeds get diagnosed more quickly.”
Consultant radiographer urology specialist Sian Griffiths at Royal United Hospital Bath NHS Foundation Trust will implement a dedicated radiotherapy prehabilitation clinic for men with prostate cancer. The clinic will provide access to specialist information and support from a range of healthcare professionals on treatments, side effects, sexual well-being, fatigue, diet and lifestyle and mental well-being.
Advanced practitioner prostate brachytherapy Samuel Worster at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital wants to introduce a permanent prostate-rectal spacing service for prostate cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy treatments. The service aims to reduce rectal side effects and increase quality of life for men undergoing a long course of treatment. The use of prostate-rectal spacers may allow men with pre-existing rectal conditions, who may have previously been unable to tolerate treatment, to undergo their radiotherapy course.
Consultant radiologist Dr Mark Robinson at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board has four aims: to develop a dedicated primary care referral form allowing patients to go straight to test; to audit mpMRI quality including each MRI scanner used in each health board; to standardise mpMRI reporting with support for those professionals reporting; and to standardise biopsy techniques in each health board and ensure access to transperineal biopsy.
Urology research and development therapeutic radiographer Will Kinnaird at University College London Hospitals aims to draw up national guidance for managing sexual dysfunction in men with advanced disease. This will involve gathering the views of patients and healthcare professionals, as well as assessing the current evidence to identify the very best treatments for these men. Sexual dysfunction is one of the most common side effects of nearly all prostate cancer treatments. Surveys show that patients do not receive the help they need to deal with these issues. This is particularly bad for men with advanced disease, who are living longer than ever, but often face the consequences of life-long hormone treatment. The aim is to provide a template for healthcare professionals and patients to help address this growing need.
Senior radiology registrar Dr Louise Lee at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust hopes to streamline the diagnostic pathway for prostate cancer services within the East Midlands region. This will involve an assessment of waiting times along the imaging and biopsy pathway, while working closely with radiologists, urologists and cancer speciality nurses across Leicester to optimise the provision of services and patient flow.
Published on page 30 of the July 2021 issue of RAD Magazine.