Supporting men living with prostate cancer
Men living with prostate cancer can now attend a new patient education seminar at Guy’s and St Thomas’, which runs thanks to generous donations.
The group, Healthy on Hormones, is specifically tailored for men receiving long-term hormone therapy as part of their treatment.
Kevin Lee was diagnosed with prostate cancer in February 2013. After doing lots of research, Kevin decided with his oncologist at Guy’s Hospital that he’d try hormone therapy as a starting point for his treatment. He has regular check-ups including MRI scans to keep an eye on progress and to assess if further treatment is needed.
‘The hormone therapy has been going very well – even better than I had expected,’ says Kevin. ‘My health is as good as it was before there were any signs of cancer. My specialist clinical nurse, Louisa Fleure, has been a tremendous help and support at all times.’
The therapy works to suppress testosterone, as it’s this particular hormone which prostate cancer thrives on.
As Kevin notes, there are reasons why prostate cancer survivors would need support in this area. He explains, ‘We have to live healthy without that crucial hormone which defines us as men: testosterone.’
Healthy on Hormones
Kevin has attended the Healthy on Hormones seminar, which is run by Louisa. As well as giving support to the men around physical side effects such as thinning of bones, muscle loss and hot flushes, the group’s programme also addresses how to manage their mental outlook, particularly around mood swings and loss of libido. Partners and carers are also encouraged to attend, and advice and support are offered to them as well.
‘We were showered with a wealth of interesting information and useful tips for staying healthy while living with prostate cancer,’ says Kevin. ‘A light-hearted yet instructive session about sex was followed by one much less so, which was the main reason I attended – what comes next.’
The sessions focus not only on hormone therapy, but also on what the treatment options are once it stops being effective. If the cancer has spread then this could be taking a range of different drugs, surgery and radiotherapy. This is not the news everyone is hoping for, so Louisa and her teamwork to help them prepare for the future.
Addressing a national issue
Around 100 men a year are diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer at Guy’s and St Thomas’, and hormone therapy is the mainstay of treatment for advanced conditions.
There are other NHS funded support groups for men with prostate cancer at Guy’s and St Thomas’, but it’s thanks to donations that Healthy on Hormones exists.
Louisa set the group up in response to national survey results. The survey showed that over half of men on hormone therapy felt they had too little information about the effects and too little support whilst on treatment, and partners also reported that they found it difficult to cope.
Healthy on Hormones is just one of many ways that your support is helping our cancer patients receive the finest care possible.
‘The staff who attend the event work very hard to make us healthy and live longer, but they’re also always available with friendly smiles,’ says Kevin. ‘It’s amazing how something as simple – and with no side effects – as a warm, kind smile, can make you feel strong again.
‘I’m thankful for all the care and energy that Louisa and the rest of the staff invest in the day, and in our futures.’
Having our amazing donors' and fundraisers' help means there's extra support like this for patients.