Leeds men to benefit from three new projects to improve prostate cancer care

A trio of hospital clinicians in Leeds have been named ‘clinical champions’ for their work to transform care for men across the city who are affected by prostate cancer.
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Constultant radiographer Sean Ralph, consultant radiologist Oliver Hulson and consultant urologist William Cross, who all work at Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust, are three of 22 healthcare professionals chosen to be part of the charity Prostate Cancer UK’s inaugural ‘clinical champions’ programme.

Each clinician has launched their own project to improve prostate cancer diagnosis, treatment or support and will be supported by the charity over the next 18 months in their work.

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The charity said its clinical champions programme is the first of its kind dedicated to improving care for men living with, or at risk of, prostate cancer.

Consultant radiographer Sean RalphConsultant radiographer Sean Ralph
Consultant radiographer Sean Ralph

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, affecting one in eight men in their lifetime – so the trio’s projects have the potential to have a big impact for men and their families in the Leeds area, and nationally.

Mr Ralph’s project involves helping to preserve men’s sexual function for those undergoing radiotherapy and hormone therapy by improving access to rehabilitation services as well as addressing the “postcode lottery” that he says currently exists with such treatment.

He said: “Erectile dysfunction is one of the most common side effects of radiotherapy and hormone therapy.

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"Although we have a range of treatments to help men with erection problems, these issues are often ignored, not asked about, or poorly managed within radiotherapy and oncology teams. This can have a devastating effect on men’s relationships and psychological wellbeing.

Consultant urologist William Cross.Consultant urologist William Cross.
Consultant urologist William Cross.

“Through this project, I want to give oncology health professionals locally and across the UK the confidence, knowledge and skills to better manage the sexual side effects of prostate cancer treatments, so more men can experience a fulfilling and enjoyable sex life.

“As part of the project, I would also like to address the postcode lottery that exists regarding what treatments are available for erection problems and how easy it is to access those treatments that are available in a timely manner.”

In his project, Dr Hulson will work with GPs to make sure men at higher risk of prostate cancer are referred without delay.

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He said: “Improving prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment is my passion.

Consultant radiologist Dr Oliver Hulson.Consultant radiologist Dr Oliver Hulson.
Consultant radiologist Dr Oliver Hulson.

"We know that earlier diagnosis leads to better outcomes for men, which is why I’m excited to work with GPs to streamline the referral process and help men in Leeds get diagnosed more quickly.”

The final project will see consultant urologist William Cross develop a digital system that will improve the management of men with advanced prostate cancer.

Amy Rylance, head of improving care at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “Ongoing innovations to prostate cancer services are vital to ensure men can access the highest quality care wherever they are in the UK.

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“That’s why we’re delighted to welcome Sean, Oliver and William to our Clinical Champions programme, and support them as they work to transform prostate cancer care in Leeds.

“We are confident that the skills and expertise they develop over the next 18 months will help them make a real difference to men at many different stages of their prostate cancer journeys.”

Find out more about Prostate Cancer UK’s Clinical Champions programme at www.prostatecanceruk.org/for-health-professionals/improvement-programmes/clinical-champions-programmeSupport the YEP and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news and the latest on Leeds United, With a digital subscription, you see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.