Many patients who are diagnosed with prostate cancer can feel overwhelmed, frightened and that they have no control of what happens next. At CONNECT, we know that information is power and an informed patient creates a strong foundation for patient-centred care. Empowering prostate cancer patients with resources gives them control over their diagnosis, treatment and future.
We also know that it isn’t just patients who need this support, but also their families, caregivers and healthcare professionals. By providing the proper tools, patients and members in their circle of care can gain control and take charge of the disease.
Our team partnered with Prostate Cancer Canada to develop patient counselling tools – including videos and print resources – customized to all stages of the disease.
The goal of this stakeholder partnership was to distill complex evidence and information into easily digestible plain language resources.
Information tailored to each stage of the disease
Prostate cancer occurs in the prostate gland and is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in Canadian men. In fact, 1 in 9 men in Canada will be diagnosed in their lifetime. While this stat may seem alarming, it helps emphasize that early stage prostate cancer grows slowly and can be treated or monitored successfully.
Understanding prostate cancer is an important first step for patients and their loved ones – it lays the foundation for future decisions. Prostate cancer develops when normal cells in the prostate grow faster or die slower than usual, which can lead to a cancerous tumour over time. Understanding this basic principle is the groundwork for the many, potentially complicated, decisions to come.
It’s important that patients understand that prostate cancer can affect every aspect of daily life. Learning about the disease is the most critical way to empower the patient to help choose a treatment plan that works for their lifestyle.
Understanding treatment options
While an initial diagnosis can be alarming, most early stage prostate cancer can be treated successfully. Once the grade and stage of the cancer is determined, patients will be presented with treatment options. When patients understand the various stages of the disease, they can make more informed decisions from the beginning.
When patients first receive their diagnosis, they are introduced to a healthcare team to talk about the diagnosis and treatment options. The grade and stage of the tumour helps form the decision on which type of treatment is best for the individual.
That’s why it’s crucial that patients have this knowledge in order to make informed decisions.
Of course, the most important member of that team is the patient themselves, as they are critical in determining the best treatment plan possible. Patient involvement equals better patient outcomes. With the right resources, patients have the confidence to advocate for their needs.
Defining a treatment plan involves the patient understanding both the benefits and the risks of the different options. While a healthcare team can help control these side effects and some will go away after treatment, it’s important for the patient to understand the potential impact on their lifestyle and well being. In some cases, the risks may outweigh the benefits and another treatment option will be more desirable.
In order to help patients and their support networks really understand and develop the best treatment plan possible, it’s critical they have the right tools and resources – that’s where the CONNECT team can help.
Patient counselling tools and resources
Our goal is to fill the gap and empower patients with resources to help facilitate decision making and manage disease. Our team was honoured to partner with Prostate Cancer Canada on this important patient-empowerment initiative designed to help patients and their families understand the disease and treatment options. (See below to see the videos and PDFs.)