March is prostate cancer awareness month and in the past year Friends of the Cancer Centre’s urology nurse Shelley has supported over 700 men undergoing treatment for prostate cancer. We caught up with Shelley to find out more about her role and how she cares for patients at the NI Cancer Centre.
What factors are there that increase the likelihood of developing prostate cancer?
“Age, ethnicity and family history are all risk factors for developing prostate cancer. The risk of prostate cancer increases with age and the average age for men to be diagnosed is between 65-69.
What are some of the most common signs and symptoms men should look out for?
“Symptoms can vary from person to person, but common signs to look out for include needing to urinate more frequently, having to get up during the night to go to the toilet or needing to rush to the toilet. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, or anything that is unusual for you, then visit your GP.
As a nurse specialising in urology, how do you support men with prostate cancer?
“Being diagnosed with cancer can be very frightening and it is my role to support patients through this difficult and confusing time. I’m on hand to offer advice, guidance and support at consultant-led clinics and nurse-led reviews, and I will become a familiar face in the midst of what can be an overwhelming experience. I also help to organise health & wellbeing events for men who have finished their treatment, ensuring that patients are provided with continuing care.
How important is Friends of the Cancer Centre to your role and your patients?
“My post simply wouldn’t be possible without Friends of the Cancer Centre. The charity has also been really supportive of my work, including funding post-treatment health & wellbeing events. I’m also very aware and grateful for the other ways in which the charity supports my patients as I can see the difference it makes to each of them. I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who supports the charity as none of this would be possible without you.”