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Based at the University of Wisconsin, the Prostate Cancer Mentor Integration Project will investigate the benefits of CHESS, a Human Cancer Mentor and the potential additional benefit of combining CHESS and a Cancer Mentor for men diagnosed with prostate cancer.

The Need

Further advancing interactive health communication systems will require integrating them with human-based systems that already do or potentially could serve patients as well. This trial will investigate the benefits of continuing access to a human Cancer Mentor who keeps track of the patient and calls him regularly to offer help, thus potentially providing patients with considerable tailoring and guidance. Those benefits should be even more effective in the company of an interactive cancer communication system like CHESS, because the mentor will know what CHESS will know about the patient as well. Conversely, the Cancer Mentor's knowledge of CHESS and his recommendations for how to use it should lead patients to use it more effectively as well.


We will test the efficacy of CHESS vs. that of a Human Cancer Mentor, and then test the benefits of coming to either alone. With a sample of 240 prostate cancer patients from three hospitals randomized to the three arms, we will measure the effect of these conditions on the primary outcome of patient quality of life. Secondary outcomes include patient preparedness for interactions with clinicians and mentors, decision satisfaction, and consideration of treatment alternatives. Additional analyses will examine mediating processes such as satisfaction with the medical system, health self-efficacy (including information competence), knowledge of their own condition, sense of expert watching over them (and trust in those experts) and information overload. Recruitment of 240 early stage prostate cancer patients will begin in July 2007. Patients will be recruited at three sites: UW Comprehensive Cancer Center, MD Anderson, and Hartford Hospital.

Principal Investigators:
Robert Hawkins, Ph.D