Meridian Health Partners with Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey to make PROGRESS against Prostate Cancer

Study Examines Post-Treatment Resources for Patients Transitioning to Survivorship
February 10, 2016

New Brunswick, N.J. – The System Partner of Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Meridian Health is joining forces with Rutgers Cancer Institute in offering access to a research study aimed at prostate cancer patients who are transitioning to survivorship.  The research compares the effectiveness of print versus online materials in helping these patients cope with treatment-related and psycho-social challenges once therapy has ended. Using results from the investigation – known as the Prostate Cancer Online Guide and Resources for Electronic Survivorship Service (PROGRESS) trial – researchers aim to understand which resource is more helpful to prostate cancer patients in adapting to life after treatment.

Aside from skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men with more than 90 percent of cases being diagnosed in earlier stages, according to the American Cancer Society. Nearly 100 percent of men in this group survive their disease for at least five years. Following treatment for prostate cancer, a number of patients may experience difficulty with urinary and sexual functions and may be concerned with disease recurrence and how to handle follow-up medical care.  Print educational materials are a main resource often given to patients to help address these issues. In the PROGRESS study, investigators are examining how prostate survivors respond to web-based delivery of education materials using online-based elements including animation and videos of prostate cancer survivors and healthcare providers answering frequently asked questions.

“Given that a large percentage of men survive early-stage prostate cancer, understanding which delivery method of post-treatment adaptation materials is most effective would be beneficial to this population,” says Cancer Institute research member Shawna V. Hudson, PhD, who is also an associate professor and research division chief in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and is the study’s lead investigator at Rutgers Cancer Institute.

Within the Meridian system, patients will be referred from Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Ocean Medical Center, Riverview Medical Center, Southern Ocean Medical Center, and Bayshore Community Hospital. Raritan Bay Medical Center recently became part of Meridian Health and will soon be participating in clinical trials.  “We’re proud that Meridian Health is the only system partner of Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and we are working together to enhance cancer care and education  for patients,” says Mark J. Krasna, MD, medical director of Meridian Cancer Care.

“Studies such as this one allow us an opportunity to better educate our patients so that they may have an improved quality of life as they transition from treatment into their new daily routines as a cancer survivor,” says Mark Perlmutter, MD, medical director of Urologic Oncology, Meridian Health.

Study participants will be placed into one of two groups.  One group will receive printed materials that provide information on topics related to adapting to life after prostate cancer.  Those in the second group will receive access to a web-based, virtual resource center designed as part of the study to assist prostate cancer survivors. Participants will be contacted four times over a six-month period to complete follow-up assessments of the print or web material.  The assessments – which will measure the effectiveness of these materials – will be conducted online, via mail or over the phone.   

Individuals who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer and have undergone a radical prostatectomy and/or radiotherapy in the last year are eligible to participate, though other criteria also must be met. The study is offered through the Cancer Institute of New Jersey Oncology Group (CINJOG), which is comprised of physicians throughout New Jersey from the Cancer Institute network of hospitals.  For additional information on how to participate, individuals should call 732-743-3205.

The study is sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

Clinical trials and research studies underway at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey explore diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancer, as well as management of cancer symptoms.  As New Jersey’s only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Cancer Institute offers patients access to treatment options not available at other institutions within the state.  The Cancer Institute currently enrolls more than 1,200 patients in clinical trials annually, including approximately 17 percent of all new adult cancer patients and approximately 70 percent of all pediatric cancer patients. Enrollment in these studies nationwide is fewer than five percent of all adult cancer patients.

About Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey ( is the state’s first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. As part of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, the Cancer Institute of New Jersey is dedicated to improving the detection, treatment and care of patients with cancer, and to serving as an education resource for cancer prevention. Physician-scientists at the Cancer Institute engage in translational research, transforming their laboratory discoveries into clinical practice, quite literally bringing research to life.  To make a tax-deductible gift to support the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, call 732-235-8614 or visit Follow us on Facebook at

The Cancer Institute of New Jersey Network is comprised of hospitals throughout the state and provides the highest quality cancer care and rapid dissemination of important discoveries into the community. Flagship Hospital: Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. System Partner: Meridian Health (Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Ocean Medical Center, Riverview Medical Center, Southern Ocean Medical Center, and Bayshore Community Hospital). Affiliate Hospitals: JFK Medical Center, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton (CINJ Hamilton), and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset.

About Meridian Health
Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit health care organization in New Jersey, comprising Jersey Shore University Medical Center and K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital in Neptune, Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin, Bayshore Community Hospital in Holmdel, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge and Perth Amboy, and Meridian Partner Companies that include home care and hospice services, skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers, ambulatory care, ambulance services, fitness and wellness centers, and outpatient centers that allow the full continuum of health care services to be offered locally. In May 2015, Meridian Health and Hackensack University Health Network signed a definitive agreement to merge.  Meridian Health has consistently been rated among the top performing health systems in NJ for clinical quality and nationally is the recipient of the John M. Eisenberg Award for Patient Safety and Quality from The Joint Commission and the National Quality Forum. Meridian is one of the FORTUNE “100 Best Companies to Work For” for six consecutive years. Earlier in 2015, Great Place to Work® and Fortune recognized Meridian Health as one of the 20 Best Workplaces in Health Care in the nation and the number one Best Place to Work for Women. Meridian is recognized for patient care and nursing excellence, including being the first health system in the country to achieve Magnet recognition from the American Nurses Credentialing Center at all of its original hospitals. Additionally, Meridian’s mission of training the next generation of health care professionals is vital to providing a foundation for sound health in our community. In 2008, Meridian Health launched a four-year nursing program in partnership with Georgian Court University. Hospitals and Health Networks Magazine has also honored Meridian as one of the nation’s 100 Most Wired Health Systems for 16 consecutive years. Meridian Health is a member of AllSpire Health Partners, an interstate consortium of leading health systems, to focus on the sharing of best practices in clinical care and achieving efficiencies.  For more information, visit


Michele Fisher









precision medicine at Rutgers Cancer Institute








Proud member of
Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium



Rutgers Health