In the first study of its kind, researchers from the University of Surrey, funded by the Movember Foundation in partnership with Prostate Cancer UK, developed and tested the feasibility of community pharmacies delivering programmes to improve levels of physical activity and diet of men with prostate cancer and those who have successfully completed treatment for the disease.
NICE recommends that men with prostate cancer follow a 12-week exercise programme to reduce symptoms after treatment and improve overall wellbeing, but this is hard to support in a hospital setting.
Nine community pharmacy teams in the south of England were trained to deliver health assessments and lifestyle prescriptions to men with prostate cancer or those who had undergone treatment. Pharmacy teams checked the weight, BMI, blood cholesterol and blood pressure of 116 men and assessed their upper-limb strength (grip strength), lower-limb strength (chair sit to stand) and overall fitness.
To help improve strength and fitness levels, a computer algorithm developed by the research team used this assessment data to generate a personalised lifestyle prescription, including exercise and dietary advice, for the participants. In support of the lifestyle changes, pharmacy teams made regular phone calls to assist participants and offer guidance.