Ernie Pihlstrom is a survivor of prostate cancer. Having gone through cancer treatment, Ernie, along with his wife Sheila, decided to improve the treatment experience for others. “I had great doctors, but they are busy people. When I had questions, I had to work it out myself. Decisions took longer and it was difficult,” he says.

Then, almost two years ago, Ernie and his wife Sheila began participating as patient advisors for the Region’s Prostate Pathway. “I had to be my own advocate during my cancer experience,” says Ernie. “I knew there could be a better way, with more supports for the patient and someone to turn to when I had questions. The Prostate Pathway will give that to patients like me.” Ernie_and_Sheila%20002

Nicole Baba, Nurse Navigator for the Prostate Pathway, heartily agrees. “The Pathway is all about supports for the patient, so they have the information they need to make a decision, and eliminating unnecessary delays. Ernie and Sheila have added a lot to our discussions over the past few years as we set up the pathway. They provided the voice of the patient to the process.”

The Prostate Pathway is currently nearing the end of its trial period and will soon be fully available as a resource for patients with prostate concerns. “Patients are referred to the Pathway through their family doctor,” explains Baba. “My job as nurse navigator is to be there for them through the whole pathway process as they meet with various doctors and receive various treatment options. Having a constant patient advocate is a big part of what makes the Pathway different from traditional health care.”

Ernie and Sheila are eager to see the Pathway become fully operational this spring. The couple agrees that being part of the pathway has been a rewarding experience. “Working with these medical professionals to set up the pathway has been so great. We have been so impressed with how much the well-being of patients is always at the forefront of what drives all the medical and health-care personnel we encountered. Prostate patients really have great care here in Saskatoon and the Pathway is only making it better.”

The Prostate Pathway is part of the Leslie and Irene Dubé Urology Centre of Health at St. Paul’s Hospital.