Editorial

Filling in the gaps behind the headlines this Movember

Laura James, senior specialist nurse at Prostate Cancer UK, commends men who are defying taboos and speaking about their experiences

Laura James, senior specialist nurse at Prostate Cancer UK, commends men who are defying taboos and speaking about their experiences


Senior specialist nurse Laura James

It’s been a monumental year for prostate cancer awareness. In February, new statistics revealed that the disease had overtaken breast cancer to become the third biggest cancer killer, claiming the lives of more than 11,500 men every year in the UK.

Household names, such as comedian Stephen Fry and journalist and TV presenter Bill Turnbull, courageously spoke out about their personal experiences of being diagnosed. And prime minister Theresa May pledged £75 million of additional funds for prostate cancer research.

Heightened awareness

As a Prostate Cancer UK specialist nurse, our team has felt the knock-on effect of this heightened awareness first-hand. Over the past ten months more people have contacted our nurses than ever before, and there seems to be a new-found confidence in the air with more men defying taboos and speaking openly about their experiences.

‘As nurses, it’s often our role to fill in the gaps and ensure men receive support and accurate information about prostate cancer’

Not only that, but NHS England’s chief executive Simon Steven’s has also reported that more men are coming forward to discuss the disease with their GPs.

The power of the media never ceases to amaze me and the effect that these stories have had on awareness is clear to see. However, it’s not uncommon for men and their families to only absorb half the picture and in some cases men can be left feeling incredibly anxious.

Accurate information

As nurses, it’s often our role to fill in the gaps and ensure men receive support and accurate information about prostate cancer, their risk and what they need to do about it.

And so, with Movember upon us, it’s important that as nurses we not only continue to do our bit to spread the word, but also make sure we’re on hand to provide vital support to those men and their families who may feel concerned after hearing the headlines.  

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