Rapid Fire Session 2014 World Cancer Congress

Peer-to-peer support of men with advanced prostate cancer: An exercise in finding appropriate technology (#451)

Jim Marshall 1 , Anthony P Lowe 1
  1. PCFA, ST LEONARDS, NSW, Australia

Background and Context:

 Peer-to-peer support for men with prostate cancer excels in two areas. Men get

  • great reassurance from the opportunity to talk to a man who has already experienced the path ahead; and
  • a low-pressure environment in which to seek and absorb information.

PCFA develops strategies to meet the needs of men with special needs. Support for The Advanced Prostate Cancer Support Group is one strategy.


 To provide peer-to-peer support for men with advanced prostate cancer (locally advanced, metastatic, recurrent) across Australia.


Initially used an email list, Skype videoconferencing, and man-to-man phone calls.

Major problems emerged:

  • Information in emails had no repository.
  • Few members had sufficient technology skills, or health-literacy levels.

We tested available technology.

Programme/Policy Process:

Looking at our members, we found:

  • Age: range 30 - 90, median 70 years
  • IT: get email (depending often on partners, children) Email attachments, clicking links in emails defeated many. Almost nil actual use of social media.
  • Phone: Most landline, some only mobile.

We started:

  • monthly Australia-wide teleconference, often a guest speaker;
  • smaller (up to 8) peer-to-peer teleconferences using personal smart phone; and
  • online forums with emailling each member for each new topic posted. (JimJimJimJim.com)
  • preamble to many postings translating key points with readability and health-literacy appropriate to members.

Outcomes/What was learned:

Measures: 512 men made initial phone contact. 108 became members. 25 typically join each monthly teleconference. Postings average 1 per day. 45% of emails read. 6% of email links clicked. 61% of members watched YouTube video urging participation in public comment on new drug.

Appropriate technology: Online forum software and teleconferencing little changed since 1980s.

National support: PCFA affiliation, gaining resources, training and audience was a key to success.

Key message: "Blue sky" technologies are key to the future. Today, telephone, email, and messages appropriate in readability and health-literacy suit clientele including older people.