The Program

PC-PEP is a 6-month home-based comprehensive health-promotion program for men with a diagnosis of prostate cancer. Eligible men must participate in a research trial measuring their quality of life online at baseline, 6, 12 and 24 months to have access to this free program.

This is how the program works:

1.    Referral: Men with prostate cancer are referred to this website. They will go to the webpages specific to their geographic region, or they follow the program designed for all regions. Click ‘How to Enroll’ to choose the region.

2.    Pre-Consent: Men will learn more about the program by reading the materials and watching videos. They need to make sure they are [eligible], and fit to do both [aerobic exercise] and [strength training].

3.    Consent: Men need to read the [consent form] and speak to the Research Coordinator to ensure they understand the trial and have their questions answered. Once consent is complete the Research Coordinator will email a link to the man to start the trial. The Research Coordinator will also make sure they receive the equipment (elastic bands and biofeedback monitor).

4.    Starting the trial. Men must confirm their eligibility online (including safety to exercise), and a complete a quality of life survey (takes 25-30 minutes) before receiving the links to the training videos. Once they are ready to go, the PC-PEP software program will send them an email every day for six months starting on a Sunday.

5.    Doing the program. The daily email gives instructions to the men as to what they should do that day.  The daily email contains a link to a 3-5 minute daily video message from the two leads of the program, and occasionally other training videos. The men will have access to all daily emails, and videos in case they want to access them later.

Description of PC-PEP

The program is meant to start before their medical treatment begins, run concurrently with the treatment phase, during the recovery phase, and at time of recurrence or progression. Men can start the program at any time during the prostate cancer journey – even if they are on no treatment.

The men are asked to fit the following home-based activities into their day in whatever way works best for them. 

  1. Aerobic Exercise – 6+ days per week. Any activity. Aiming to slowly increase to 150 minutes or more of moderate exercise per week.
  2. Strength Training  twice per week by following a 30 minute PC-PEP youtube videos. They choose one of 4 difficulty levels, 9 exercises per video. Men use elastic exercise bands and their own body weight for this whole body workout.
  3. Pelvic Floor Muscle Training (kegels) – three times a day. Each 8-10 minute session includes relaxation, quick twitch and long hold muscles exercises, and anti-incontinence techniques. The men can watch a PEP video which guides them through the exercises. Men with a smart phone can receive text messages with a link to the video three times a day to remind them to do the training. Each week the PC-PEP kegels video changes, making the exercises progressively more difficult to perform.
  4. Relaxation technique – 10 minutes per day minimum. Men have option to set up a heart rate variability monitor connected to their smart phone or computer. They can watch a PEP video which provides guided relaxation instruction.
  5. Dietary Advice – the daily email contains a dietary tip. Likewise the daily video provides explanations or suggestions of how to transform their diet over to a healthier mostly plant-based diet.
  6. Relationship training – both the daily emails and videos encourage the participants to connect with their loved ones, and teach different ways to increase their emotional intimacy and openness with their partners, family and friends.
  7. Optional social support  Men have the opportunity to be ‘buddied’ up with two other co-participants with the expectation they will call each other once per week. The men are reminded to call their buddies every Monday. Men also have the option to join a monthly zoom videoconference of other men in the active phase of the program in which we discuss barriers and solutions to complying with the program, among other topics. Lastly, the men have an option to talk to ‘mentors’ both when they join the program and after the monthly videoconferences. Mentors are volunteers who have had a PC diagnosis and have been through the PC- PEP program.   

Weekly Compliance Survey – Every Sunday the men receive an email with a link asking them to fill out a questionnaire capturing what they did the previous week.

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