In a UK first, Royal Surrey is introducing a self-administering painkiller to improve the experience of prostate cancer screening for men.
For the first time, Penthrox®, an inhaler traditionally used in emergency departments, is being used to control pain for patients having a biopsy as part of prostate cancer screening.
It is hoped the inhaler device (known as the green whistle), which puts patients in control of their own pain relief, will reassure men that having a prostate cancer biopsy is painless, and encourage more people to come forward for this essential diagnostic procedure.
In expert hands, patients undergoing a prostate biopsy might feel a small amount of discomfort when a local anaesthetic is first applied, but the biopsy itself is not painful. Penthrox® is now ensuring full-proof pain relief throughout the whole process, by putting patients in control from start to finish.
Men can manage their own pain relief levels by taking slow, deep breaths on the inhaler as and when they need to, and the device will make a huge difference to patients with prostate cancer that are on active surveillance, who need to undergo multiple biopsies.
Using Penthrox® in this innovative way will not only improve the patient experience, but will also remove the need for patients with a lower pain threshold to have a general anaesthetic, which in turn reduces pressure on theatre time, staff, and resources at the Trust.
Penthrox® is proving to be a great success, with patients giving extremely positive feedback, and reporting zero or low pain scores. It is also relieving some of the stress and anxiety they feel about coming in for a biopsy.
Wissam Abou Chedid, Consultant Urology Surgeon, at Royal Surrey said:
“We are the first unit in the UK to use Penthrox® for prostate cancer screening, and we are passionate about raising awareness amongst male patients that they should not let the myth around biopsies being painful become a barrier to them seeking help.”