But now more men have access to the tools required to cope with the disease, from the moment of diagnosis onwards, thanks to the Prostate Cancer Supportive Care (PCSC) Program and the Vancouver Prostate Centre.
"Different people have different needs, and not all prostate cancers are the same. At the PCSC Program we emphasize the need to care for the whole person and the whole family," said Dr. Larry Goldenberg, director of development at the Vancouver Prostate Centre. "Through appropriate, personalized education and counselling we prepare them for the challenges ahead to allow for the physical and psychological transitions they are about to experience, while minimizing decisional regret."
During Men's Health Week, June 11 to 17, the Vancouver Prostate Centre is reminding men they are able to self-refer or be referred by their doctor into the program from the moment of their diagnosis. Though many of the modules help men after they've gone through their treatment, the program also helps men and their families understand the disease, make informed treatment options, and prepare them for the journey ahead.
The PCSC Program was developed in 2013 as a comprehensive survivorship program that helps men, their partners and family make decisions about their primary treatment, support them throughout their journey and help them get back to leading fulsome lives post-treatment with clinical services including sexual rehabilitation, exercise and dietary counselling, pelvic floor physiotherapy and clinical counselling.
After partnering with BC Cancer in 2015, portions of the PCSC Program have been available in Victoria (Vancouver Island Centre) and Kelowna (Centre for the Southern Interior). With the Province's support last year of $6 million to the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation, the Vancouver Prostate Centre and BC Cancer are able to further expand and distribute the PCSC Program throughout British Columbia. This expansion is led by Dr. Celestia Higano, PCSC Program Medical Director, and Lisa McCune, BC Cancer Director of Patient Experience and all aspects of the PCSC Programs in Victoria and Kelowna will be available shortly, while initial implementation of the PCSC Program in Prince George is taking place. Plans to open in Surrey are also underway. Making many resources available online and through telehealth is also an important priority for the PCSC Program to ensure men across British Columbia can gain access regardless of geographic location.
Vancouver resident Edward Woo was diagnosed in 2016 and linked into the PCSC Program shortly after. Initially, the group information sessions showed him there were many other men going through similar challenges. He realized the benefit of its holistic approach after seeing how working with an exercise physiologist helped him get through his physically-draining treatment. The physical, dietary and lifestyle supports gave him the tools to get back to a normal, healthy life and the counselling services helped him and his wife, Kathleen, maintain their relationship throughout a difficult chapter in their lives.
"Being told I have cancer was like a bomb being dropped at my door. It was shocking and terrifying and I didn't know what to do," said Woo, 67. "The PCSC Program gave me the understanding, support and hope to see that I could be a survivor. I feel so much better attending these sessions."
The PCSC Program currently includes seven modules which men can take part in and more modules are in development. These modules include group education sessions and clinical services in the following areas:
- Primary treatment decision-making
- Sexual Rehabilitation
- Lifestyle Management
- Androgen Deprivation Therapy
- Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy
- Clinical Counselling & Group Workshops
- Advanced Disease Management
Located at the Gordon & Leslie Diamond Health Centre at Vancouver General Hospital, the Vancouver Prostate Centre has a track record of success that has earned it reputation as one of the world's most respected cancer facilities. It is a National Centre of Excellence and a designated Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research. For more information, visit www.prostatecentre.com.
Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) is responsible for the delivery of $3.3 billion in community, hospital and residential care to more than one million people in communities including Richmond, Vancouver, the North Shore, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky corridor, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella Coola. VCH also provides highly specialized care and services for people throughout BC, and is the province's hub of health care education and research.
BC Cancer, part of the Provincial Health Services Authority, is committed to reducing the incidence of cancer, reducing the mortality from cancer and improving the quality of life of those living with cancer. It provides a comprehensive cancer control program for the people of British Columbia by working with community partners to deliver a range of oncology services, including prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment, research, education, supportive care, rehabilitation and palliative care. For more information, visit www.bccancer.bc.ca or follow us on Twitter @BCCancer.
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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Communications Officer, BC Cancer
Provincial Health Services Authority
PHSA media line: 778-867-7472