Enhancing survivorship care planning for patients with localized prostate cancer using a couple-focused web-based, mHealth program: the results of a pilot feasibility study



To examine the feasibility of an enhanced survivorship care plan (ESCP) that integrated the web-based program Patient Education Resources for Couples (PERC) into a standardized survivorship care plan (SCP) and estimated the outcomes of ESCPs versus SCPs.


In this randomized pilot trial, localized prostate cancer (PC) patients and partners (i.e., couple) were randomly assigned to ESCP that contained a link to PERC or to SCP that contained a link to general PC information on the National Cancer Institute website. Couples completed assessments measuring quality of life (QOL), appraisal of symptoms, and coping resources at baseline (T1) and 4–6 months later (T2). We examined feasibility (e.g., recruitment and retention) using descriptive statistics. Linear mixed models examined changes in couples’ outcomes over time and Poisson regression examined differences in patient healthcare utilization.


Sixty-two couples completed T1 surveys (recruitment rate 41.6%) and were randomly assigned to receive ESCP (n = 31) or SCP (n = 31). Twenty-eight (ESCP) and 25 (SCP) couples completed T2 surveys (retention rates = 90.3% vs. 80.7%). ESCP participants (70%) reviewed webpages consistent with patients’ symptoms. ESCP patients reported greater program satisfaction (p = 0.02) and better urinary symptom scores (p < 0.01) than SCP patients.


Delivering ESCPs that embed a web-link to a couple-focused, tailored program is feasible and can potentially improve patient outcomes. The promising results need to be validated in a larger definitive trial using a diverse sample.

Implications for Cancer Survivors

SCPs, enhanced using a web-based intervention (e.g., PERC), may help PC cancer survivors better manage their urinary symptoms.

Trial registration

ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT04350788

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The authors thank the research participants, research staff, and advisory committee for their important contributions that have made the study possible. The authors also gratefully acknowledge the technical support of the UNC Connected Health for Applications and Interventions (CHAI) core for developing and maintaining the intervention website.


This study was funded by the National Cancer Institute (R21CA212516, PI: Song). CHAI core is supported through a grant from the National Institutes of Health (DK056350) to the University of North Carolina Nutrition Obesity Research Center and from NCI (P30CA16086, PI: Earp) to the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Song’s work was also partially supported by R01NR016990 National Institute of Nursing Research (NIHR) (PI: Song) and University Cancer Research Fund, UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Tan’s work was partially supported by R01NR016990 (PI: Song) and P30CA016086 (PI: Earp). Dr. Birken’s effort was supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health, through Grant KL2TR002490.

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Correspondence to Lixin Song.

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All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. IRB #: 16-1913 (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill).

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Song, L., Guo, P., Tan, X. et al. Enhancing survivorship care planning for patients with localized prostate cancer using a couple-focused web-based, mHealth program: the results of a pilot feasibility study. J Cancer Surviv 15, 99–108 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11764-020-00914-7

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  • Survivorship care plan
  • Prostate cancer
  • Symptom
  • Randomized trial
  • Quality of life
  • Self-management