12 October 2017
Patients with suspected prostate cancer are receiving their results much faster thanks to a ‘one stop’ clinic which delivers all the tests they need on the same day.
The clinic offers blood tests, MRI scans, prostate biopsies, nursing support and an appointment with a specialist consultant, all in one location and in one session. It means that patients do not have to attend numerous appointments before finding out whether or not they have cancer.
MRI scans – a key indicator of whether a patient has prostate cancer – are performed on the same day by an expert uro-radiolgist. Because the results are available during the same appointment, around one in four patients are able to avoid a prostate biopsy – an invasive procedure which in the past was conducted routinely.
GPs previously received results for their patients in 37 days but since the clinic opened in July 2016, this has been reduced to less than 14 days. For prostate cancer, it means that 90 per cent of patients start their cancer treatment within 62 days of urgent GP referral, against a national target of 85 per cent.
The clinic, which runs from the Royal Free Hospital and Barnet Hospital, is now being used as an example of best practice by London Cancer which provides support and resources for GPs, cancer professionals and patients across the capital.
Dimitrios Volanis, urology consultant, said: “This is about reassuring patients who would previously have had to attend multiple appointments across a number of weeks before they received a diagnosis.
“Imagine being told that you don’t have cancer and to be able to avoid all of that unnecessary worry and go home reassured. For those patients that do have cancer then we are able to support them in one place, talk them through the options, and introduce them to a nurse specialist who will be their contact point every step of the way.
Fionnuala McCarthy, clinical nurse specialist, said: “Our team of nurses, urologists, radiologists, administrators and ops managers all work really closely together. Giving patients access to all of this expertise and support on the same day is vital.”