Study looks at post-treatment resources for prostate cancer patients transitioning to survivorship

The System Partner of Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Meridian Health is joining forces with Rutgers Cancer Institute in offering access to a research study aimed at prostate cancer patients who are transitioning to survivorship. The research compares the effectiveness of print versus online materials in helping these patients cope with treatment-related and psycho-social challenges once therapy has ended. Using results from the investigation - known as the Prostate Cancer Online Guide and Resources for Electronic Survivorship Service (PROGRESS) trial - researchers aim to understand which resource is more helpful to prostate cancer patients in adapting to life after treatment.

Aside from skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men with more than 90 percent of cases being diagnosed in earlier stages, according to the American Cancer Society. Nearly 100 percent of men in this group survive their disease for at least five years. Following treatment for prostate cancer, a number of patients may experience difficulty with urinary and sexual functions and may be concerned with disease recurrence and how to handle follow-up medical care. Print educational materials are a main resource often given to patients to help address these issues. In the PROGRESS study, investigators are examining how prostate survivors respond to web-based delivery of education materials using online-based elements including animation and videos of prostate cancer survivors and healthcare providers answering frequently asked questions.

"Given that a large percentage of men survive early-stage prostate cancer, understanding which delivery method of post-treatment adaptation materials is most effective would be beneficial to this population," says Cancer Institute research member Shawna V. Hudson, PhD, who is also an associate professor and research division chief in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and is the study's lead investigator at Rutgers Cancer Institute.

Within the Meridian system, patients will be referred from Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Ocean Medical Center, Riverview Medical Center, Southern Ocean Medical Center, and Bayshore Community Hospital. Raritan Bay Medical Center recently became part of Meridian Health and will soon be participating in clinical trials. "We're proud that Meridian Health is the only system partner of Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and we are working together to enhance cancer care and education for patients," says Mark J. Krasna, MD, medical director of Meridian Cancer Care.

"Studies such as this one allow us an opportunity to better educate our patients so that they may have an improved quality of life as they transition from treatment into their new daily routines as a cancer survivor," says Mark Perlmutter, MD, medical director of Urologic Oncology, Meridian Health.

Study participants will be placed into one of two groups. One group will receive printed materials that provide information on topics related to adapting to life after prostate cancer. Those in the second group will receive access to a web-based, virtual resource center designed as part of the study to assist prostate cancer survivors. Participants will be contacted four times over a six-month period to complete follow-up assessments of the print or web material. The assessments - which will measure the effectiveness of these materials - will be conducted online, via mail or over the phone.


Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey


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