September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. The presidential proclamation noting this included the following statement encouraging “all Americans to lend their support to family, friends, and neighbors whose lives have been touched by prostate cancer. Let us celebrate the compassion and perseverance of health care providers, researchers, and dedicated advocates. Together, we can raise awareness, support research, improve care, and reduce the impact of this disease on our citizens and our Nation.”
This month’s issue of The Oncology Nurse-APN/PA (TON) provides updates on the latest research and treatment for prostate cancer. The Patient’s Voice column gives us the perspective of a man who “receives the news” that he has prostate cancer. His article shows us how many patients carefully analyze our verbal and nonverbal communication for cues as they try to understand and process a frightening situation. Also, the column is a good reminder that common terminology to us (for example, Gleason score) can be completely unknown to patients.
In her Through the Eyes of an Advocate column, Peg Ford tells us about her experience escorting a friend to the hospital for an outpatient procedure. The friend had survived several recurrences of cancer and her latest symptoms had everyone worried. Unfortunately, things at the hospital conspired against a smooth process—medical records had not been received and the doctor was delayed in coming to speak with the patient after the procedure was over. What should have taken a total of 3 hours ended up taking 6½ hours. Peg notes that “The patient is too often the stakeholder whose needs are not fully considered in a system that is groaning from unrealistic burdens and stresses.” It is a system where the “medical minute” is becoming all too unrealistic for all involved—patients and healthcare providers.
The “medical minute” is this month’s TON reader poll. See below for information and be sure to visit our website, www.TheOncologyNurse, to give us your perspective.