Get back on track is a telephone-based service where a specialist nurse helps men with prostate cancer to manage their own fatigue, developed by Prostate Cancer UK and King’s College London.
Prostate Cancer UK specialist nurses call men taking part in the programme around four times in a ten week period, encouraging and supporting them to make positive behaviour and lifestyle changes to reduce fatigue. As well as encouraging changes like increasing exercise levels, increasing social activities, getting back into hobbies, or changing diet, the nurses attempt to increase men’s awareness of their own behaviour patterns, and how these could be contributing to fatigue. Many men have more energy at certain times of the day, so we also encourage men to complete a daily activity diary to record their energy levels.
We tested how well it worked in a pilot study in 2012, comparing results between 38 men who received phone calls and 38 who didn’t (the control group).
We also carried out 14 in depth interviews by telephone with men that had received the Get back on track programme.
We found that men who received the phone calls reported an overall improvement in their energy levels and how well they were dealing with their fatigue compared to the men in the control group.
The men also reported that the support motivated them to make changes so they could control their fatigue, and helped them to understand that fatigue was normal and that they were not alone.
The men we spoke to thought that using the phone was a good way to deliver this service, but it would be more accessible if the support materials (daily diary and weekly planner) were available electronically, or via a smartphone app.
Overall the pilot went very well, so we decided to integrate Get back on track into our services to support men with prostate cancer.
We also learnt that some men weren't aware of the other services that Prostate Cancer UK offer to men with prostate cancer, so we might need to offer and market each service separately and directly.