Ms Julie Sykes, Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurse, Joondalup

Ms Julie Sykes, Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurse, Joondalup

Every year, about 20,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer (the most common cancer in Australian males), while an estimated 200,000+ Australian men are living with it. Whilst about 95% of people with prostate cancer survive for at least five years, prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in Australian men.

Treatment given intends to eradicate the disease or offer palliation from symptoms in the event of disease spread. Individual treatment plans are determined by a number of factors including the grade and stage of disease, age, other comorbidities and patient preference. This often involves a multi-modal approach.

Side effects are a common feature for many who receive treatment, and they can persist for many years and require specialist advice and intervention.

The role of the Nurse Specialist

The role of the nurse in specialist supportive and clinical care is widely recognised.

In response, Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) introduced a Prostate Cancer Specialist Nursing program in 2012, which provides four positions in WA.

As the only community-based position in the PCFA program, the GenesisCare Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurse provides an area wide service to men and their families living in the Joondalup and Wanneroo shires.

The primary role for the Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurse (PCSN) is to provide care and services aimed at improving an individual’s cancer experience.

The PCSN assists men by: 

  • Provide an ongoing point of expert contact and support
  • Assist men with access to hospital and community services
  • Provide reliable information about diagnosis and treatment
  • Provide information about how to deal with the effects of treatment and get further help with specific problems.
  • Coordinate care
  • Enable men, their families or carers to access support groups
  • Provide education and training to other health care workers and those affected by prostate cancer

Patients may present to the PCSN at any point in their cancer journey be it at diagnosis, during or after treatment. The nurse works within the multidisciplinary team and provides care and information to all patients across all treatment modalities including surgery, radiation therapy and drug therapy. Being a central point of contact for the treating team is also a vital component of the role.

The GenesisCare PCSN also delivers group education sessions for people affected by prostate cancer on continence, sexual dysfunction, diet and exercise in partnership with other local providers. These are free for the community to attend.

More information about the Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurse service in your area can be found at:

References available on request.

Questions? Contact the editor.

Author competing interests: nil relevant disclosures.

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