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Plymouth pilot successfully trials home prostate cancer treatment

Prostate cancer patients in Plymouth may soon be able to receive treatment from specialist nurses in their own homes, following a successful pilot.

Plymouth Hospitals Trust, in partnership with private provider Healthcare at Home and pharmaceutical company Janssen has undertaken a 12-month pilot study in which 37 patients have received oral hormonal therapy from nurses at home.

“We are really pleased with the pilot and how well it has been received by our patients”

Sarah Pascoe

Patients said they found treatment less stressful and more convenient. The trust said it hoped to offer the service to “all eligible prostate cancer patients later this year”.

Dr Sarah Pascoe, consultant clinical oncologist at Derriford Hospital, hailed the pilot study as success.

She noted that eligible patients would receive a phone call at least once every eight weeks and would be visited by specialist nurses who carry out blood tests, check blood pressure and provide treatment, every two weeks for the first three months and then once a month after that.

This compares to the current system where patients visit a hospital clinic every month for three months and then every eight weeks thereafter.

Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust

Sarah Pascoe

A consultation usually takes between 20 and 30 minutes, while the patients are then likely to wait between 15 and 30 minutes to pick up their medication. This means the total duration of their hospital visit can be up to three to four hours, excluding their travel time.

Receiving treatment at home would therefore save patients and their families up to eight return trips to a hospital clinic over a 12 month period, as well as fuel and parking costs.

Dr Pascoe said: “We are really pleased with the pilot and how well it has been received by our patients.

“Being able to offer patients the opportunity to receive their treatment in the comfort of their own home, from trained nurses, supported by us, not only benefits the patients but helps us as an oncology department as well,” she added.

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