Communication: the key to improving the prostate cancer patient experience

Can Oncol Nurs J. Spring 2012;22(2):129-39. doi: 10.5737/1181912x222129133.
[Article in English, French]


In 2010, an estimated 24,600 Canadian men were diagnosed with prostate cancer (Canadian Cancer Society, 2011). Upon diagnosis, men and their family members begin an arduous journey of information gathering surrounding prostate cancer and its various forms of treatment. Men have to consider the impact a treatment may potentially have on their quality of life and, frequently, they experience decisional conflict and require support. In May 2008, the Prostate Cancer Assessment Clinic opened to receive men for an evaluation of a possible prostate cancer. Our inter-professional model of care provides support, guidance and education to our patients from assessment to diagnosis and treatment planning. A major goal of our diagnostic assessment unit has been to improve the patient experience. Communication is defined as "to make known, to exchange information or opinions" (Cayne, Lechner, et al., 1988). Nursing is the critical link for information exchange that is patient-centred and collaborative. The focus of this paper will highlight the development and implementation of nurse-led initiatives within our program to improve the prostate cancer patient experience. These initiatives include: a patient information guide, prostate biopsy care, patient resources, community links, surgery education classes and implementation of a decision aid. Communication is the key.

MeSH terms

  • Communication*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nurse-Patient Relations*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / nursing*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / therapy
  • Quality of Life