230,000 Australian men and their families will have free access to a new mental health counseling service for Australians affected by prostate cancer.
The prostate cancer consultation servicelaunched today by the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, will be the first of its kind in the world.
PCFA CEO Anne Savage said the service would help reduce the risk of death by suicide in men with prostate cancer.
“Prostate cancer is a major threat to the health and well-being of Australian men, with more than 18,000 men newly diagnosed each year who will face a 70 per cent increased risk of suicide,” Ms Savage said. .
“Alarmingly, around 72% of men who develop a mental illness will not seek help for it, and this new service will help overcome one of the main barriers to care, by giving men free access to advice in telehealth provided by specially trained nurse counsellors. who understand what they are going through.
“At least one in three men with prostate cancer will experience clinically significant distress, about 1 in 5 will experience anxiety and depression, and a large number of men will have lower life satisfaction by up to 10 years after their initial diagnosis and treatment.”
PCFA’s general manager of supportive care services, Bernard Riley, said demand was strong for the service.
“Over 230,000 men are living with or beyond prostate cancer in Australia, and by 2040 that number will increase by around 60%,” said Mr Riley.
“The counseling service will be fully integrated with PCFA’s tele-nursing service, allowing our specialist nurses to refer men to more specialist care when they need our support.
“Over 70% of people who call our telecare service are patients, many of whom need information and advice from a healthcare professional who understands prostate cancer, with the majority admitting to feeling moderately or strongly distressed by the problems and uncertainty they face.
“Our counselors will be able to help men and their loved ones through the challenges of their diagnosis, providing them with practical strategies for coping with the disease and self-managing the emotional, spiritual and psychological impacts of what they live.
“The service exists to help catch men before they fall into isolation and suicidal ideation.”