Developing a comprehensive men’s health program

It’s in your jeans,-both literally and figuratively.  With one in seven Canadian men diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, the campaign for a comprehensive men’s health program in the Windsor-Essex region is long overdue.
Last June, the Windsor Essex Cancer Centre Foundation launched, “It’s In Your Jeans,” a $4 million capital campaign to fund a Regional Comprehensive Men’s Health Program in partnership with Windsor Regional Hospital, the Erie St. Clair Regional Cancer Program and the Windsor Essex Prostate Cancer Support Group.

“Most men will survive prostate cancer if diagnosed and treated early, however male health needs such as prostate cancer, bladder cancer, urinary tract disorders and sexual dysfunction are often not well serviced within our region.  There is no simple clinical pathway from primary care; to specialist referrals; to treatment,” says David Musyj, President and CEO, Windsor Regional Hospital.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in Canadian men.  One in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime and this number is expected to rise to one in four within a decade. Unfortunately with the current level of services and equipment situations similar to Matt Dugal’s are much too common.

“It was ten long and worrisome months for my family and myself. I came through, hopefully cured, but could not help but feel that my medical journey could have been a better experience. Care also must be timely. For several prostate patients, I knew that current local care did not provide treatment in time. The nightly trips to the bathroom were annoying. My late wife Doris insisted I see a family doctor who referred me to a urologist. I had a P.S.A (blood test) and a biopsy, receiving the news all men fear that, I had prostate cancer! I have had an array of treatments and procedures, ultrasounds, x-rays, bone scan, hormone treatments, 28 needles and 85 radioactive seed implants.”

The lack of coordination contributes to unacceptable wait times of 30 weeks from the time cancer is suspected to treatment. On average, it means more than 50 per cent of surgical prostate cancer patients have to seek surgery outside of the region. Additional advanced laboratory equipment will help reduce the biopsy turn-around time from two to three weeks to just two or three days on average.

“Having been a cancer patient and know first hand that waiting for a diagnosis can be the longest and most anxious time in your life. The quicker the diagnosis and beginning of treatment will assist in helping the patient physically and mentally.” states Norma Brockenshire, President, Windsor Essex Cancer Centre Foundation.

The campaign will fund three capital requirements for the program.  First, the Men’s Health Centre of Excellence in Prostate Care will be conveniently located at Windsor Regional Hospital and provide one-stop urological services. Men and their families will have streamlined multidisciplinary care with access to information, support, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up through a patient friendly process.  This will cut the wait times in half.  Second, funds will be invested in additional state-of-the-art laboratory equipment and, the third objective is to acquire a Da Vinci Surgical Robot System, the most advanced technology available for prostate surgery.

“Da Vinci elevates surgery and goes beyond the limits of the human hand and eye.  Its tiny wristed instruments allow a greater range of motion, dexterity, and stability than the normal hand.  The high definition 3D and 10 magnification will give us unmatched anatomical views.” states Dr. Tom Deklaj, one of the urologists at Windsor Regional Hospital, trained to treat patients on the device.

The Da Vinci offers may benefits to patients including; excellent cancer control and return of urinary continence, less blood loss and transfusions, faster recovery time and return to normal activities, less pain, shorter hospital stays, fewer days with a catheter and lower risk of wound infection.

“The sophisticated robotic and computer technologies enable urologists to perform prostate surgery through tiny incision no bigger than a dime, using nimble instruments the diameter of a pencil.” says Dr. Ron Sorensen, Lead Urologist for the program.

In September of 2011, the Ontario government committed the annual operating funds estimated at $2.5 million. To date, ‘Its In Your Jeans’ campaign has raised $1.8 million towards its goal.  The Windsor Essex Cancer Centre Foundation is an independent, volunteer governed charity, formed in 1996 to support local cancer services.  The Foundation has raised over $18 million for cancer services in the Windsor Essex community.