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Online prostate cancer support a success

Prostate cancer patients can use an innovative online tool to manage their follow-up care at the Royal Cornwall Hospital.

The hospital is one of five across the UK to adopt the True NTH project, which has been funded by the Movember Foundation but managed through Prostate Cancer UK.

The scheme, which securely provides patients access to their blood results, has been used within the hospital for almost a year, with 640 patients signed up.

Any concerns can be addressed via a Prostate Cancer Support Worker and patients taking part have set parameters that are monitored by the specialist prostate cancer team, who will contact them if any issues arise.

Dr John McGrane, oncology consultant for Royal Cornwall Hospital said: “We see around 400 new patients a year at RCHT with prostate cancer, which has increased around 25 per cent in five years.

“Our clinics were becoming overwhelmed, with some patients having to travel great distances for follow up clinics that would at times only take about five minutes.

“The True NTH project has really helped to bridge that gap; it allows well patients to be managed at home, allowing them to have access to their own records and to follow their own progress.

“It also saves patients travelling here to find out results, which helps to free up spaces within our clinics for new patients or for patients who have encountered problems.”

Debbie Victor, uro-oncology clinical nurse specialist, said that some patients had felt wary about using the internet at first but “it has been embraced by patients, making them feel they can take control back while still being safe in the knowledge that we are there in the background, keeping an eye on them”.