UPDATE … the new PCa Social Network PLUS app

A couple of weeks ago (see here) we had first told you about the launch of the new PCa Social Network PLUS app that allows mobile access to a new social netowrk (and a clinical trial of its effects) for men with prostate cancer.

We are delighted to be able to tell you that there are already 70 registered users of this app, and that 30 of them have signed up to participate in the clinical trial. This is really GREAT. It’s hard to get new things like this off the ground and this is actually a high early response rate, but we’d LIKE to be able to get to at least a couple of hundred app users with about half of them participating in the clinical trial by some time in June, so …

The image on the right shows you what the app information actually looks like on your mobile phone when you sign up and use it, and here is the basic information about how to download and start using the app itself:

  • This is a mobile app that works on one’s mobile phone. It will NOT work from a desktop computer.
  • At present, at this pilot stage, you must be resident in the USA to use the app (but if it gets significant uptake, we plan to make it available more widely as soon as possible)
  • You have a choice about whether to just use the app or whether to use the app and enroll in the quality of life study
  • If you want to try out the app for yourself, use your smart phone (Apple- or Android-based) to either go to http://onelink.to/dftbhm or just search for “PCa Social Network PLUS” in your app store.

Over the next few months we would really like to get several hundred men to enroll in the QoL study as well as using the app.

The new PCa Social Network PLUS app is being brought to you by CancerLife in collaboration with Prostate Cancer International. However, we would like to encourage members of any prostate cancer advocacy/support organization to let their members know about this. Prostate Cancer International will not be using this database to solicit funding for our programs. All e-mail and other personal information collected will be privately secured by CancerLife, not by Prostate Cancer International. All data collected as part of the associated qualkity of life study will be de-identified prior to any data analysis or publication of reports.

The associated Quality of Life Study is being conducted by the John Wayne Cancer Institute. This study is now open to enrollment for men using the PCaI Social Network PLUS app, but — as indicated above — you are not required to enroll in this study even if you decide to download and use the app.

Some more detailed background about the PCaI Social Network PLUS app and the associated study is given below.

Additional Background Information

Introducing … the new PCa Social Network PLUS app … and the associated clinical trial of its impact on quality of life for prostate cancer patient

Study Goals

The primary goal of the study is replicate an earlier, similar study conducted at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MKSKCC) and confirm that the new PCa Social Network PLUS app can be used to raise quality of life (QoL) for each participant. The original study showed that when patients collected their own data electronically and shared it with their care team, they increase their QoL by 18%!

We believe that by using the PCa Social Nedtwork PLUS app to collect your QoL data as well as by interacting in an online social network, most prostate cancer patients will be able to achieve a positive QoL improvement. We already know that social support within and through online communities can lower depression, reduce anxiety, and have other positive long-term impacts.

Importantly, the PCa Social Support PLUS app allows you to hide and protect your identity inside the community if you wish to do this. Anonymity may well give men the freedom to express their emotions in a safe and judgement-free zone.

What Are We Asking Study Participants to Do?

Basically, we are asking men with prostate cancer who sign up to participate in the study to do five things over at least the first 90 days of the study:

  • Download the PCa Social Network PLUS app from your app store.
    1. This link will take you the right app store based on your phone type (Apple or Android).
  • Register to use the app and join the study (but please remember, you can use the app without joining the QoL study)

    1. By agreeing to the consent form and entering your name for digital signature.
  • Fill out the QoL Fact G Survey (14 questions) as soon as your download the app.
  • Fill out this survey again every 30 days for the next 90 days.
    1. You will be sent reminders asking you to do this
  • Try to Post and Update and share what your struggling with in terms of side effects inside the social network at least 3 times per week!
    1. Ask questions and answer other people’s questions.
    2. Every patient brings his unique experience to this project.
    3. Share your knowledge to whatever extent you can, even if it is as simple as that you have experienced the same issue.

Some Other Important Notes

  • The QoL Fact G Survey has commonly been used in clinical trials in the US. However, as far as we are aware its use has never previously been used with so many prostate cancer patients and (potentially) so many different medications used in treatment of prostate cancer
  • When we feel that we help others, our brains release a neuro-chemical called oxytocin. Even small increases in the levels of oxytocin can make us feel better and can lead to lower levels of anxiety and lower levels of depression.
  • After you have generated 5 to 10 posts yourself, you will be able to generate a Patient’s Summary Report that you can share with your doctor or other members of your “care team”. The report will highlight those things you want your team to focus on. One of the goals of this project is that it should make it easier to communicate your specific concerns to your doctors and your care team.

Please Tell Others About This Project

We strongly encourage you to “tell others” about this project. The more people that we can get to enroll in this project, the bigger the data set we can generate quickly, and the more likely we will be to demonstrate a measurable clinical benefit.

4 Responses

  1. Nowhere in the introduction was a price listed for this app. I suspect that this push to become used and known is really a ploy to get users to pay a monthly fee for subscribing.

    Tell me, and others this isn’t so and I will join. If there is a fee hit the unsubscribe key.

    Thank you,


  2. The fact that this cannot be done on a laptop killed it for me. I love my phone, but I prefer my laptop for this kind of thing.

  3. This is great! Just got it from the App Store.

  4. Hi Harry. That is completely true for some people, and I am optimistic that in time we will be able to make this system available through a laptop as well. One CAN already use this on an IPad or simila=r mobile device that is not a phone.

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