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Focus on prostate cancer: Newham clinic wins award

12:57 19 January 2013

Nick Owen, BBC TV presenter; Sarah Toule, Prostate Cancer UK; Dr Frank Chinegwundoh, Consultant Oncologist; Professor Emma Ream, kings College London and Paul Trevatt, North East London Cancer Network.

Nick Owen, BBC TV presenter; Sarah Toule, Prostate Cancer UK; Dr Frank Chinegwundoh, Consultant Oncologist; Professor Emma Ream, kings College London and Paul Trevatt, North East London Cancer Network.

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A clinic run by Barts Health NHS Trust medics has won an award for persuading men to be tested for possible prostate cancer symptoms.

The Newham-based community clinic beat off strong competition to win a Quality in Care, Excellence in Oncology award in the Helping People Live Longer category. It was also highly commended in the Patient Experience section.

The clinic’s aim was to get “hard-to-reach” men, who might not visit their GP, to drop into the clinic based in Newham’s African and Caribbean Community Centre.

Of the 328 men who attended a consultation, 59 were referred for secondary care, nine were diagnosed with prostate cancer and three received treatment for other conditions.

Prostate cancer is three more times more common in black African and black Caribbean men compared to white men, although the clinic was open to all men.

Dr Frank Chinegwundoh, Barts Health Consultant Urologist, who led the project, said: “We were hugely encouraged by the response we got and by the number of men who said they preferred this option to seeing their GP in a clinical setting.

“We would now like to see this model of care used more widely following the success of our Newham clinic.”

Paul Trevatt, Macmillan Nurse Director for North East London Cancer Network, said: “This is a wonderful achievement and a fitting tribute to the hard work of the nurses, doctors, and managers who worked tirelessly to make the clinic a success.

“However there is more to do and the real test will be in carrying on the work of the clinic and replicating it in other localities”.

Reluctance among some men to seek medical advice prompted the Cancer Reform Strategy to encourage community-based prostate clinics, with the aim of promoting early presentation with the disease and timely referral to secondary care.

Men scored the clinic very highly in terms of access and convenience. They talked about the bespoke clinic with friends, with 25 per cent of men who visited the clinic doing so because of word-of-mouth referrals.

This approach complemented an advertising campaign which promoted the clinic among a hard-to-reach group. Organisations such as the Association for Prostate Awareness and Cancer Black Care also helped raise awareness of the centre among their members.

The pilot clinic provided a safe environment for these men to express fears or concerns that were not being addressed elsewhere: many symptomatic men who visited the clinic said that they would not have visited a GP citing a number of reasons, including fear, embarrassment or simply not thinking their worries were warranted.

Lessons from the pilot will be shared with other stakeholders both within London and across England. It is hoped that this clinic will be the first of many.

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