By Rob Payne – ScienceNetwork WA.
A clinic set up to improve rural and remote men’s access to prostate cancer testing and diagnosis has been deemed an overwhelming success.
The ‘One Stop’ Prostate Clinic (OSPC) sees men from country WA with a GP referral able to travel to Perth for a full urological assessment and same-day biopsy, if necessary.
This rapid-fire process means only one meeting with a urologist is needed for a prostate cancer diagnosis, as opposed to three under the traditional system.
The researchers involved the study say this saves the healthcare system money, has shown no loss to follow-up—men missing additional appointments—reduces outpatient pressure on public hospitals and GPs and removes key barriers affecting country WA residents.
“Previous research has shown that men with prostate cancer from rural WA have prolonged time to diagnosis due to multiple visits to urologists,” Fremantle Hospital urologist Dr Dickon Hayne says.
“And outcomes from prostate cancer in Australia are known to be worse for men in rural areas.
He says the long distance travel required for rurally-based men to attend urban medical appointments is significant in terms of time and money despite assistance from the Patient Assisted Travel Scheme.
To put this into perspective, the median distance men going to the OSPC travelled was 1545km—or about half-way from Perth to Adelaide.
Of the first 200 men to use the service, 184 (92 per cent) required prostate biopsies, with 111 (60 per cent) found to have prostate cancer.
Eighty-two men (74 per cent) had a score of seven or higher under the Gleason grading system for prostate cancer prognosis, which indicates more severe forms of the disease.
Dr Hayne says the OSPC offers clear health advantages and is financially beneficial too.
“By combining their initial assessment and prostate biopsies in one visit, all 184 men who underwent biopsies were saved one return trip to Perth, resulting in an estimated cost-saving of $131,311 [collectively],” he says.
“By delivering biopsy results over the phone and arranging local follow-up with their GP or a visiting urologist, 109 men were saved one return trip to Perth resulting in an estimated cost savings of $77,690.”
This adds up to $209,001 in savings, equivalent to $1045 per person.[hr] Notes: The study involved Fremantle Hospital, Fiona Stanley Hospital, UWA, West Australian Urologic Research Organisation, University of Melbourne and Western Health.
Originally published on ScienceNetwork WA. Read the original article here.