Did you know…?
Irish men have a one-in-eight chance of developing prostate cancer. Prostate cancer rates in Ireland are the highest in Europe and amongst the highest in the world. In 2010, 3,125 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer* in this country, a small increase on 3,079 in 2009.
Many men are living with the consequences of prostate cancer treatment, often without adequate support. There are many issues which need to be addressed to improve services and the Irish Cancer Society has made it one of its core goals to transform Prostate Cancer care in Ireland.
The funds raised by Movember will help us to do this.
Research is essential to improving our understanding of prostate cancer. In 2011, with the support of Movember, the Irish Cancer Society awarded four new prostate cancer research grants in conjunction with leading Irish universities.
One of these grants was awarded to Professor Caitríona O’Driscoll, School of Pharmacy, University College Cork, to investigate ways to deliver a new class of drugs known as small interfering RNAs (siRNA), to prostate cancer cells without harming healthy tissue. Due to limitations with existing therapies for prostate cancer there is a need for more effective treatment options.
Professor O’Driscoll explains that “small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) are a new class of exciting drugs that can be tailor-made to stop cells from producing a specific cancer-associated protein without affecting other normal working genes. Therefore, they have huge potential for cancer therapy.”
Today FM broadcaster Ray D'Arcy presenting Professor O'Driscoll with her research grant. Also pictured: Professor Cliona O'Farrelly, chairperson of the Irish Cancer Society's Research Committee.
In 2011, the Irish Cancer Society, with funding from Movember, developed a survey to learn more about men’s experiences of care and treatment following a prostate cancer diagnosis.
Responses came from men across the country, from a broad range of backgrounds.
The survey found that men felt they received low levels of information and support at almost every stage of their cancer journey. Many felt they made life-changing decisions without fully comprehending the severity of the physical and psychological side-effects.
Across all stages, men reported a desire for better quality information and support.
A national survey conducted by the Irish Cancer Society in 2011 sought to find out more about men’s experiences of care and treatment following a prostate cancer diagnosis. The survey found that men felt they received low levels of information and support at almost every stage of their cancer journey.
The Society used these survey findings to actively lobby the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) to address the information and support needs of men with prostate cancer.
Arising from the Survey, a Prostate Cancer Patient Charter was developed in conjunction with Men Against Cancer (MAC). The Charter was launched at the National Prostate Cancer Patient Conference in November 2011. The Charter is available online and by contacting the National Cancer Helpline on Freefone 1800 200 700.
John McCormack, CEO Irish Cancer Society, Marty Morrissey, RTÉ broadcaster and Frank Brennan, Chairperson of Men Against Cancer
Supporting Men with Prostate Cancer
In November 2011, the second national conference for men with prostate cancer took place, in association with MAC. Over 150 men attended and they stated the event was “very honest and inspiring”, with 95% saying they would attend next year. This year’s conference will take place on Saturday 24th November in Croke Park.
National Cancer Information Service
The Society has specialist prostate cancer nurses available to speak with men and their families about prostate cancer through its National Cancer Helpline and online through Cancer Chat and www.cancer.ie.
Calls to the helpline about prostate cancer almost doubled in 2011. For the first time we received more calls from men directly affected by a prostate cancer diagnosis. Historically, partners or family members would make up a larger share of callers. This is great news as it means men are standing up to cancer and looking for information, support and advice to help them cope. Movember plays a vital role in supporting the helpline through funds raised by the Irish Movember community.
The Irish Cancer Society hosts an Annual Patient Conference, “Supporting Men with Prostate Cancer”, each November
Calls about prostate cancer to the Irish Cancer Society’s National Cancer Helpline almost doubled in 2011
Encouraging Men to become “Prostate Aware”
The Irish Cancer Society believes one of the driving factors for the increase in calls to our National Cancer Helpline was our high profile awareness campaign which coincided with Men’s Health Awareness Week 2011. The Prostate - There I’ve said it campaign is designed to tackle the stigma and embarrassment that surrounds prostate cancer. It was fronted by Irish media personalities Bryan Dobson, Matt Cooper and Micheal O’Muircheartaigh. We want to give men the confidence to start talking about their health with each other. This is a key step in the Society’s strategy to transform men’s overall experience of prostate cancer in Ireland.
Patient Pathway Snapshot Survey
In 2011, the Irish Cancer Society undertook a hospital survey to understand the patient pathway. We met with healthcare professionals treating prostate cancer in over 18 hospitals (all public hospitals and selected private hospitals).
There has been significant investment by the NCCP in setting up Rapid Access Clinics in the eight designated cancer centres. However, despite this great improvement, there is still more to be done. The management of the prostate cancer patient after their initial treatment is still under-resourced in Ireland and the Irish Cancer Society is committed to ensuring more care and support is provided to men during and after their treatment.
The “Prostate - There I’ve said it” media campaign, fronted by media personalities such as Matt Cooper and Bryan Dobson, tackled the stigma and embarrassment that surrounds prostate cancer
Arising from the Prostate Cancer Survey, the Irish Cancer Society actively lobbied the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) to address the information and support needs of men with prostate cancer, leading to the development of a Prostate Cancer Patient Charter in conjunction with Men Against Cancer (MAC). The Charter was launched at the National Prostate Cancer Patient Conference in November 2011
Patient Experience Research
We have commissioned a new Prostate Cancer Research Study from the National Cancer Registry of Ireland (NCRI) in collaboration with the NCCP. We wish to understand men’s experiences of, and satisfaction with, diagnosis and treatment services. Then we can continue to improve services provided for men and their partners, families.
The Physical Activity Programme
The Irish Cancer Society runs free exercise programmes for cancer survivors with support from Movember. In 2012, the first programme specially designed for prostate cancer survivors by exercise specialist and former Irish Olympian, Marie Murphy took place. The aim of the programme is to encourage and support people who have had cancer to become more active and to increase their physical fitness levels.
Studies have shown that regular physical activity can help rebuild health and well-being after a prostate cancer diagnosis and may also help increase survival.
Physical Activity is the Irish Cancer Society’s free exercise programmes for cancer survivors, and 2012 saw the first programme specially designed for prostate cancer survivors
Cancer Support Groups
The Society has supported MAC to fulfil its role in supporting all men affected by prostate cancer. MAC provides one-to-one, peer-to-peer support and their volunteers attended two support and supervision days in 2011 and dealt with 190 referrals in total.
A MAC volunteer attended 10 post surgery group meetings in Beaumont Hospital in 2011. Volunteers presented to over 400 students and 50 employees by invitation in 2011. They provided support to local men’s health meetings where over 600 men attended in 2011.
*NCRI Cancer Incidence Figures, 2010 and updated 2009