1,000th patient enrolled on new ‘self-management’ prostate cancer pathway at The Christie

Press release posted 2 May 2024

The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, a specialist cancer centre in Manchester, is celebrating the first anniversary of the prostate easy access support service (PEASS). PEASS is a supported self-management follow-up pathway for people following their prostate cancer treatment, or who are on hormone therapy treatment only. 1,000 patients have been enrolled in the service since April 2023.

Previously, those living with or after a diagnosis of prostate cancer were reviewed at regular intervals by their clinical team. Some patients found these appointments useful and reassuring, however many more found them unhelpful and a source of anxiety unless they had something they wished to discuss. There is strong evidence that symptoms and concerns are managed more quickly and effectively if patients report them as and when they occur, rather than waiting for a routine appointment, which could be at three, six or twelve-month intervals. Supported self-management pathways, also referred to as personalised stratified follow-up (PSFU), are being introduced nationally as part of the NHS England long-term plan.

Information is available in three formats, a written handbook, an online presentation, and a face-to-face educational session. Some people prefer to read the handbook or watch the information online, in the comfort of their own home. Others prefer to attend the 1-hour session at The Christie in Withington so they can meet the PEASS team.

In addition to making people aware of potential signs of prostate cancer recurrence or spread, the team give advice on how they can look after their health during and after cancer treatment, including tips on healthy eating and exercise. Patients are reassured that they remain under the care of The Christie and continue to have their prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels monitored. High levels of PSA, a protein produced by the prostate, can be an indication that the cancer has returned or spread. PSA is measured by a blood test and patients can have these at local clinics as part of The Christie’s bloods closer to home service.

“Some of our patients will have been coming to follow-up clinic appointments for up to five years, so the idea of not coming to The Christie can be quite daunting,” comments Rachel Rathbone, Clinical Nurse Specialist at The Christie. “However, they can contact The Christie PEASS team directly to discuss their prostate cancer questions, symptoms or worries. The feedback we’ve had so far has been very positive, so we’re looking forward to rolling the service out to more people in the coming months,” continues Rachel.

“It is gratifying when patients say how much they value our support and feel reassured in the knowledge that we are at the other end of the phone if they need us,” commented Claire Moffat, Prostate Cancer Support Worker at The Christie.

Andy Fleet is a 58-year-old semi-retired management trainer and dad from Hale in south Manchester. He was diagnosed at 53 after noticing that he was weeing a bit more than usual. He had a PSA test, a scan, and a biopsy, and was told he had prostate cancer. As it was caught at an early stage, he was given 3 options – ‘watching and waiting’, brachytherapy (a type of radiotherapy), and having his prostate removed.

A photo of Christie prostate patient Andy Fleet in a a bedroom with a window and bunting behind him.

“I immediately ruled out not doing anything as I knew I wanted to do something about it. I decided to have my prostate removed, and although I’ve had some side effects, I don’t regret the decision. I’m a very active person and am living life to the full. Prostate cancer won’t hold me back.”

“I’d encourage anyone to go to the GP if they have concerns,” continues Andy. “I was diagnosed early because I knew something was wrong and got a biopsy done, so it’s important to advocate for yourself. Once I talked to friends about my diagnosis, they started sharing their own experiences. I was surprised that so many men I knew had had prostate cancer. Everyone needs to be more open about our health and things like the PEASS workshop help with that. The team created a warm and friendly environment and I left feeling confident and empowered. I’ve called the team since then and they got back to me straight away. I can’t fault the service; I can get on with my life safe in the knowledge that The Christie is there if I need it.”

Adil from Didsbury has also benefitted from the programme. He said: “After completing my treatment I had so many questions about the next steps. Claire and Rachel answered all those questions and more, reassuring me that I’m not alone and that there’s a single point of contact there if I need it.”

“The team have set up the PEASS service in a robust and person-centred way, to ensure that patients are not only monitored safely but also have confidence in knowing support is out there to access should they need it. We expect the service to grow in coming months and years, to be an essential source of follow-up care for almost all Greater Manchester patients undergoing radical treatment for prostate cancer, comments Dr Lydia Briggs, Clinical Lead for Personalised Care, Greater Manchester Cancer Alliance, and Lead Nurse for Personalised Care, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust.

You can find out more about PEASS on our prostate easy access support service page.

Last updated: May 2024