Maureen Rowlands, the Director of Support Services at Prostate Cancer Canada (PCC) did a wonderful job, first describing the support and awareness activities currently offered by PCC and then offering a confidential overview of a number of exciting new programs that will be undertaken nationally once all the required agreements are in place.
Maureen started by explaining that all programs undertaken by PCC must make sense to all affected parties (patients, family and friends), must be accessible, must be easy to navigate, must take a multi-disciplinary, collaborative approach, must stress healthy living and self-management and must encourage both physical and psychosocial wellness. Finally, a continuous process of evaluation and improvement is followed.
She spoke about current and future brochures and videos in both English and French and then answered questions about the new Prostate Cancer Information Service (PCIS) and the Expert Angle Webinars described elsewhere in this newsletter.
Maureen assured us that during the coming year, regional training programs will be offered to train PCCN members to provide peer to peer counseling for both patients and caregivers. Those who took the first training in Halifax in 2012 will be retrained.
Then she got into the exciting part, after swearing us to secrecy. However, we found that the Current Programs section under Support on the PCC website, http://www.prostatecancer.ca, offers some teasers about “A Survivorship Action Partnership” (ASAP):
ASAP will provide information and resources on a variety of topics, such as physical, mental and spiritual well-being, to help improve the lives of prostate cancer survivors and their partners, caregivers and family members across Canada.
For ASAP, a survivor is any individual with a diagnosis of cancer through to the end of life. This includes the needs of the partner, family and caregivers throughout the cancer journey and after death.
Traditionally, survivorship care focuses on the post-treatment phase of the cancer journey; however, all phases of the cancer journey need to be addressed in order to effectively treat the ‘whole patient’.
Receiving a diagnosis of prostate cancer may not be easy for everyone to manage. We hope that ASAP’s comprehensive solutions will ease the burden faced by survivors, their partners, caregivers and families.
Specifically, the goal is for survivors to effectively deal with possible late-effects and side-effects of cancer treatment such as anxiety, depression, fatigue and erectile dysfunction.
Maureen advises that it will take one to three years to carry out all the necessary research, development, pilot projects and evaluations, but we have some exciting times to come in the years ahead!