Earlier this year the urology specialists at Addenbrooke’s Hospital designed and developed a new web tool called TrackMyPSA to empower men to take control of their prostate cancer monitoring.
This is welcome news to us here at Incontinence UK as around 47K men a year in the UK are diagnosed with prostate cancer which can affect and bring on urinary problems and incontinence. This number has been increasing over the last 10 years due to more men having PSA tests and the population is getting older. In men prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men.
However the good news is that more than eight in 10 men diagnosed with prostate cancer survive their disease for 10 years or more and these rates are improving – partly because of PSA (prostate specific antigen) testing detecting latent, earlier, slow-growing cancers. Patients with early stage cancers all need monitoring and follow-up checks of their PSA blood levels.
Vincent Gnanapragasam, university lecturer and honorary consultant urologist at Addenbrooke’s, along with his team, has developed TrackMyPSA to help patients take control of their own PSA monitoring. Features include email PSA check reminders, the ability to log interventions and set warning thresholds.
Gnanapragasam said: “We wanted a tool that patients could use easily without needing to be a computer whizz. We’ve deliberately made TrackMyPSA an online tool, so it can be accessed from home or in clinic.
“It is important to note that TrackMyPSA is not linked to a patient’s records nor to any clinic or hospital IT system. This feature is deliberate as it means that it can be used from anywhere in the UK or even internationally, and is not dependent on a particular clinical team or healthcare provider. Thus the software is entirely patient managed. It is designed to work with any type of prostate cancer treatment or management plan.”
Gnanapragasam said: “I now have patients who turn up for their appointment with a print out of their charts. It’s a very nice visual way of seeing how things are going. Patients can also share their anonymised charts with us remotely, which facilitates telephone follow-ups by our nurses.
“In the past, patients had their tests done with their GP and if they didn’t hear back then they’d assume all is well. People aren’t used to being asked to look after themselves, but this cultural attitude has to change.
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Incontinence UK Team