Men with prostate cancer have unique health considerations both during and after treatment that may require special management by family practice physicians. Next year, primary care doctors in Michigan and across the nation will have access to new training that aims to improve care for these men thanks to a grant from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation and the Michigan Department of Community Health. According to the Michigan Cancer Consortium, the unique health concerns of prostate cancer survivors may include bowel problems, brittle bones, fatigue, hair loss, hormonal changes, emotional distress and sexual side effects. While there are more than 2 million men in the United States who are prostate cancer survivors, there were more than 8,700 estimated new cases of prostate cancer in Michigan in 2014 alone. The goal of the grant is to ensure primary care physicians have the knowledge and skills to provide the best care for these patients through additional medical training. The prostate cancer survivorship care training module is being developed by researchers at the Wayne State University School of Medicine’s Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences. “Primary care providers are integral to the care of men with prostate cancer,” said Jinping Xu, M.D., an associate professor at the WSU School of Medicine who will help lead the development of the course. Dr. Xu also helped to write the Michigan Cancer Consortium’s recommendations for prostate cancer survivorship care on which the training is based. By September 2016, the training will be offered as a continuing medical education credit for family doctors in Michigan, as well as available online to physicians across the nation and even internationally. Dr. Xu believes the finished product will “serve as an innovative example for developing and delivering other online CME courses to improve health care quality for all.” The Michigan Cancer Consortium offers additional prostate cancer information for patients and providers available here. The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation supports research and programs to improve the health of Michigan residents. No grant money comes from the premium payments of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan members. To learn more about BCBSM Foundation grant programs, visit bcbsm.com/foundation. Photo credit: caroline tran.
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