No matter the treatment stage they’re in, men undergoing treatment for prostate cancer face unique challenges (1) compared to others diagnosed with different cancer types, including treatment selection and its associated consequences. They are often noted as feeling stressed by the decision-making (2) process around their prostate cancer treatment and how those choices will affect the rest of their lives. Many studies have pointed to the additional emotional distress placed on men with prostate cancer and how it results in a higher prevalence (3) of depression and anxiety among them. 

With these heavy decisions, men experiencing prostate cancer treatment may feel unsupported and unprepared to deal with all that’s required to help them improve their health status, including vocalizing their needs (4) with their support systems. Many digital health support interventions have been found to help this population with treatment decision-making (5), goal setting, and making healthy lifestyle changes. (6) While using these interventions (7), they have been able to navigate the often challenging issues surrounding the prostate cancer treatment and therapy landscape in hopes of fulfilling their overall health needs. 

Pack Health researchers recently examined its condition-specific program for men diagnosed with prostate cancer to determine if similarities in goal setting and engagement were connected to how health outcomes could be improved for this population. All Pack Health condition-specific programs offer members consistent and frequent guidance, support, and resources to help them improve overall health outcomes. Enrolled members are partnered with a Health Advisor who provides them with consistent direction and support via phone, email, or text. Each week, members and their Health Advisors collaborated on crafting and accomplishing a Tiny Step, a small yet impactful goal that builds up to their overall health goals.  

Member data, including prostate cancer-specific outcomes data, were evaluated to determine significant changes in health status from baseline to month 3. Changes in additional health outcomes, such as exercise minutes and health self-efficacy, were also measured to determine if the outcomes were impacted by member goal setting and level of engagement. 

 3-month results showed:  

  • The average member increased weekly exercise by 17%. Members who set Tiny Steps related to exercise had a 92% achievement rate.  
  • 12% more members had good health self-efficacy at month 3, compared to baseline. 
  • Members saw an overall 31% increase in urinary function. 

Collectively, members were focused on improving physical health as their main goal from the start of the program. The member sample’s achievement rate in exercise is particularly notable because the exercise was found to be a high barrier for this member population, due to lack of energy and time. Now as they continue through treatment, members are now skilled in understanding, managing, and fulfilling their health needs so they can continue to improve and eventually reach remission.   

“Providing members with goal setting and decision-making skills is essential to the progress they make weekly and to how they will continue to do so upon completing Pack Health programs,” says Stephen Burton, MS, Director of Data and Outcomes at Pack Health. “This intervention can be a game-changer for this population and how they can approach their treatment and therapy with confidence.” 

References 

  1. Goodman A. Emotional and psychological distress associated with prostate cancer. The ASCO Post. Sept. 25, 2017. Accessed July 14, 2022. https://ascopost.com/issues/september-25-2017/emotional-and-psychological-distress-associated-with-prostate-cancer/  
  2. Oswald LB, Schumacher FA, Gonzalez BD, Moses KA, Penson DF, Morgans AK. What do men with metastatic prostate cancer consider when making treatment decisions? A mixed-methods study. Patient Prefer Adherence. 2020;14:1949-1959. doi:10.2147/PPA.S271620 
  3. Watts S, Leydon G, Birch B, et al. Depression and anxiety in prostate cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prevalence rates. BMJ Open. 2014;4(3):e003901. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003901 
  4. Prashar J, Schartau P, Murray E. Supportive care needs of men with prostate cancer: A systematic review update. Eur J Cancer Care (Engl). 2022; 31(2), e13541. doi:10.1111/ecc.13541 
  5. Hatoum R. How prostate cancer patients can choose a treatment they won’t regret. UCLA Health. August 18, 2017. Accessed July 14, 2022. https://connect.uclahealth.org/2017/08/18/prostate-cancer-patients-choose-a-treatment-they-wont-regret/  
  6. Chan J, Van Blarigan E, Langlais C, et al. Feasibility and acceptability of a remotely delivered, web-based behavioral intervention for men with prostate cancer: Four-arm randomized controlled pilot trial. J Med Internet Res. 2020;22(12):e19238. doi:10.2196/19238 
  7. Pack Health publishes prostate cancer research in JCO Oncology Practice. Pack Health. Published May 4, 2022. Accessed June 13, 2022. https://packhealth.com/news-prostate-cancer-study-jefferson-health 

About Pack Health 

Pack Health is an evidence-based patient engagement platform that helps change health behaviors to close gaps in care and improve outcomes. Pack Health comprehensively addresses chronic conditions, comorbidities, social determinants, and barriers. The model is proven to drive results across industries, including life sciences, health plans, and research. For more information, visit www.packhealth.com.

In 2022, Pack Health was acquired by Quest Diagnostics, the nation’s leading provider of diagnostic information services. Pack Health is part of Quest’s Extended Care portfolio of services designed to facilitate access to care beyond traditional healthcare settings. Quest annually serves one in three adult Americans and half the physicians and hospitals in the United States.

Pack Health is intended to be an aid for people to gain insights into ways to help improve their general health and well-being.