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JUNE 5: PROSTABLOG NZ: For the first time, thousands of New Zealanders treated for cancer will have their stories documented.

The Cancer Control Council will ask 3500 people who have been treated in the last year about their experiences as cancer patients.

There have been strong calls from the cancer sector for better information about service provision and understanding what patients expect compared to what they actually get from the health system, says council chair Dame Cath Tizard.

“We looked overseas for a credible tool to measure people’s experiences with cancer treatment and have settled on the Patient Experiences Survey conducted by (survey company) IPSOS, which is used by such countries as Canada and Australia,” she says.

“It also means we can compare New Zealand health services with those overseas.”

A first for New Zealand, the survey would give the council a benchmark and aimed to help those providing cancer treatment with some insights into service gaps and issues. 

“The Council urges all cancer patients approached by mail to take part in this survey as the more responses we get, the better understanding and insight we will have to ensure we provide better cancer treatment care in the future,” she says.

A report containing the survey results will be published on the Cancer Control Council website from late 2009.

The Cancer Control Council is a ministerial advisory committee which provides independent strategic advice to the Minister of Health on all matters relating to cancer. It says this advice is aimed at reducing the incidence and impact of cancer and reducing inequalities with respect to cancer.

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AS this snapshot of the statistics indicates, Prostablog is showing some growth in viewership since it began two weeks ago.

prostablogstats140409That’s great news. It means you’re passing the word on and more and more people are having a look. Already, I’m getting feedback from people who find it useful. For example:

“Had the finger last year, woman GP.   Said mine was slightly rough but no big deal.  Funny thing is I’ve been saying for years that I can’t pee like a young bloke anymore. My dad had treatment about six years ago at 65 so I figured I would get myself checked out.    I reckon after reading your blog I might get another check.  I can pee OK but I can’t force it out like I used to and sometimes in the night I have to clear my mind before it’ll flow.   Good on you for blogging about it.”

“I swear most of the men I know over 50 except for my husband have had prostate cancer.”

“I was converted by Barry Young several years ago and have an annual PSA test – plus the annual anal.”

“Thank goodness you are okay. Good on you getting the word out there; it’s an important topic.”

“…I was reading your PC blog! Very interesting and evocative, I felt as if you took me right in there with you.”

“Having now read your blog I must say it reminded me a great deal  of my time in … Hospital wards and life in wards (especially night life in wards).” 

 “…I know a rapidly growing number of blokes who have “been there, done that” and are now fine, in fact finer than fine! I absolutely support free testing for men and will add my vote.  Will forward your email to R… and nag him along for another test. I read your blog over a flat white first thing, it must have all been very worrying for Lin too, partners are often the forgotten “victims”  aren’t they?  Get better old thing, and if I may throw in a bit of doggerel….Wherever you be, may you wee flow free,  except in front of the students obviously… ‘

“…I’ve always thought men were a little hard done by compared to the publicity breast cancer gets.”

“…enjoyed reading your blog.  Bloody personal stuff isn’t it!  Good on you for getting the word out.”

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