Prostate cancer patients in North Wales can now avoid anxious waits for an appointment by seeing their blood results online as soon as they are available.
The Health Board is the first in Wales to enrol onto a new remote Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) tracking programme.
Following treatment for prostate cancer, patients require regular PSA blood tests between three, six and 12 months to monitor their progress.
In a new digital approach to aftercare, the blood test taken by the GP or hospital is now automatically loaded into a PSA tracker system, which is checked by Urology nurses.
The tracker system helps the clinical staff to monitor the results of regular PSA tests and recall patients quickly to hospital if they are concerned. Those who have PSA levels that are normal will not be followed up with an outpatient appointment at the hospital.
Patients can access their blood results through the tracker and speak directly with one of the nurses if they have any questions.
Delyth Jones, PSA Co-ordinator at Ysbyty Gwynedd, said: “Being able to access their blood test results as soon as they are available, without having to wait for a clinician or nurse to contact them, reduces a great deal of stress and anxiety. Patients can also phone one of the team here if they wish to discuss their results further as well.”
The tracker has been welcomed by North Wales’ Prostate Cancer Support Group who say it will be of huge benefit to patients.
Phil Jones, a former prostate cancer patient of Wrexham Maelor Hospital, said: “I am really pleased to see the introduction of the PSA tracker across the Health Board.
“Members of the local Prostate Cancer Support Group where I am secretary have been pushing to have this introduced over the last two years so it’s great news for patients.
“The group has had feedback from patients previously that they have struggled to get their blood results back and the exact ratings so having the tracker will make it so much easier as patients can book blood tests and access their results from their armchairs via the new online system.”
Rachael Taylor, Prostate Cancer Co-ordinator at Wrexham Maelor Hospital, added: “I’m really pleased that the PSA Tracker is up and running, as this is a fantastic improvement in the follow-up care for our prostate cancer patients.”
This is offered to all prostate cancer patients across the Health Board and so far has received positive feedback from patients.
Heidi Rawson, PSA Coordinator at Glan Clwyd Hospital, said: “The new PSA tracker is going to offer an excellent opportunity for greatly improved self-management as well as reducing the anxiety of patients waiting for their blood results"
Caroline Williams, Cancer Services Performance Lead, added: “We are very excited to have gone live with the PSA tracking software within our Urology service. It represents a significant improvement in how we monitor PSA levels and is a great example of service users and clinicians working together to improve the quality of our cancer services in North Wales.”