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Following SPCR funded research to develop and test a psycho-educational group and internet support intervention for prostate cancer sufferers, researchers at the University of Southampton have secured further funding from Prostate Cancer UK to evaluate PROACTIVE.

Men undergoing active surveillance (AS) for prostate cancer experience substantial anxiety and diminished wellbeing. Anxiety is a significant predictor for AS patient-initiated transference to clinically unnecessary radical treatment. Radical intervention does not improve survival in localised prostate cancer but increases the risk of physical dysfunction through its adverse effects.

With SPCR funding, researchers Professor George Lewith and Dr Sam Watts developed and completed initial testing of PROACTIVE (a psycho-educational group and internet support intervention delivered by nurses over 6 weeks) to allow AS patients to better self-manage their distress. They have now received funding from Prostate Cancer UK to evaluate the feasibility of delivering PROACTIVE - the first survivorship support intervention designed specifically for AS.

The randomised mixed methods study will underpin the development and design of a subsequent multi-centre definitive trial to determine the practicality of delivering PROACTIVE more widely. We will assess changing trends in anxiety, quality of life and wellbeing between men randomised to PROACTIVE as opposed to the usual treatment, and to understand their study experience and the intervention itself through qualitative interviews.

We would not have been successful with this grant without the pilot work that we were able to complete with SPCR support. It was absolutely essential to our success."


- Professor George Lewith

 Related publications: 

Watts, S., Leydon, G.M., Arden-Close, Emily, Birch , B. and Lewith , G. (2014) Managing distress in prostate cancer: a feasibility study into the design and evaluation of a novel psychological support intervention for managing distress in prostate cancer. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 20, (5), A61. (doi:10.1089/acm.2014.5158.abstract).

 Watts, S., Leydon, G.M., Arden-Close, E., Moore, C., Birch, B. and Lewith, G. (2014) The prevalence of depression and anxiety in men undergoing active surveillance for prostate cancer. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 20, (5), A61. (doi:10.1089/acm.2014.5159.abstract).

 Watts, S., Leydon, G., Birch, B., Prescott, P., Lai, L., Eardley, S. and Lewith, G. (2014) Depression and anxiety in prostate cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prevalence rates. BMJ Open, 4, (3), e003901. (doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003901). (PMID:24625637).

For more information on the project, please contact George Lewith.