The guidance, which was published last week, highlighted the important role that nurses should play in explaining the complexity of the disease and the treatment options that are available.
NICE’s recommendations focus on empowering men to make well-informed choices by providing them with evidence-based information about the disease – for example, the side-effects of treatment can cause urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction.
Jane Gosling, a guideline development group member and consultant nurse in urology at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, said: ‘Men with prostate cancer have many decisions to make – from diagnosis all the way through the patient journey – and nurses play an important role in this.
‘The guidelines highlight the need for specialist nurses who can bridge the gap between primary and secondary care, and provide valuable advice, support and treatment, particularly in areas that need specialist intervention such as continence and problems with sexual function,’ she added.
However, as highlighted in the government’s Cancer Reform Strategy published last year, there are serious shortfalls in the number of CNSs available to support patients with urological cancers (NT News, 11 December, p2).
Campaigners also warned in November that the NHS needed at least 260 more urological CNSs – more than double the existing number – to improve the care of men with prostate cancer.
Tom Ladds, urology nurse specialist at Manchester Royal Infirmary, said he welcomed the guidelines and the support they gave to having more specialist nurses in the field.
‘Over the last 12 months, anecdotal information from the urology cancer networks is that there are now more urology nurse specialists,’ he added.
‘But whether the additional numbers are enough to allow all patients access [to a specialist nurse] is yet to be seen,’ he said.
NICE has also published guidelines in five other areas:
Full details of the guidelines can be found at www.nice.org.uk