The time from suspicion to diagnosis is a complex and important phase of the cancer journey. It is characterized by the need for many tests and consultations and can create anxiety and stress for patients and families. St. Joseph’s Hospital is pleased to welcome the Prostate Diagnostic Assessment Program (PDAP) which has consolidated all prostate biopsy procedures to St. Joseph’s Hospital.
This improved system of care will provide timely access to high quality diagnostic services, accelerate treatments, reduce wait times, and enhance quality of life throughout the assessment of prostate cancer. Medical, surgical and radiation treatment will continue to be provided at decentralized sites within London, including London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC).
On November 29, staff from St. Joseph’s and LHSC celebrated the official grand opening of the new PDAP located at St. Joseph’s Hospital.
Staff who were integral to the launch of the program were praised by Neil Johnson, VP at LHSC and Karen Perkin, VP at St. Joseph’s for their dedication to the planning and the commitment to make this much needed service available to the community.
Don Park, a patient who was diagnosed with prostate cancer understands first-hand the fear that people experience with the suspicion of prostate cancer. Don was a contributor to the project and shared his personal story at the opening. “I understood the patient perspective at every stage of the diagnostic process and recognize those involved with the PDAP were trying to alleviate stress and anxiety at every touch point.”
Don, who experienced the old system, shared his difficult experience. “It took 21 weeks from my family doctor’s recommendation to get a PSA test because my prostate seemed enlarged, to confirmed diagnosis by a urologist. “The tension and worry grew each week thinking about the unknown and fearing the worst,” says Don. “It seemed to take forever to move to each next step.”
Don was in a “mental shock” when he was told her had serious prostate cancer and if left untreated he would only have five to seven years left to live. “To be told there is a real ‘end of life’ possibility with a probable time line is mind numbing.”
“My experience was incredibly difficult but because of it, I was able to help the development of the PDAP project. At various stages of the PDAP development, I was asked for my feelings and opinions as a patient. No matter what the professional expertise was around the table I was genuinely listened to and my thoughts and opinions were used in the creation of the program. “This new program will help others experience less stress and anxiety though their process.”
It was through the collaboration of many key stakeholders and donor support, which made it possible to purchase key equipment and enhance the program’s space, which made the PDAP a reality - providing better access to care for those who are suspected of prostate cancer.