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Men’s Health Awareness Month: The program increasing the quality of life for men living with prostate cancer

November was Men’s Health Awareness Month, and despite the month coming to a close, Dalhousie’s Dr. Gabriela Ilie will continue her tireless research and focus on Men’s Health year-round.

For Dr. Ilie, the work began in 2015, when Frank and Debbi Sobey created the Soillse Scientist in Prostate Cancer Quality of Life Research through a truly transformative gift to DMRF. Dr. Ilie has spent the past six years nurturing this project to create what it is today - a patient education and empowerment program aimed at improving the lives of men living with prostate cancer in the short and long term through exercise, nutrition, relationship-building, social support, and more. 

“The PC-PEP is dedicated to healing and transforming the lives of prostate cancer patients through medical science and community-building.”
-Dr. Gabriela Ilie

The program - referred to as PC-PEP (an acronym for Prostate Cancer Patient Empowerment Program) - is part of a six-month, in-home, comprehensive health-promotion program, the first of its kind in Canada, and as of January 2022, the program will be rolled out to prostate cancer patients across Atlantic Canada.

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PC-PEP homepage

The PC-PEP is a welcome addition to the growing awareness, research, and treatment surrounding Men’s Health globally, and a trailblazing initiative out of Atlantic Canada. Dr. Ilie’s research has been nothing short of impactful. It doesn’t only benefit the patient but has had a ripple effect into educating young researchers and residents, patient education and engagement, and empowerment as standard of care. It has been at the forefront of changing the face of the medical system, in valuing and listening to the voice of the patient.

Every year in Nova Scotia, an average of 760 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and 4.6% of men in Atlantic Canada are living with a history of prostate cancer.

The PC-PEP is reaching more men in the Maritimes than anticipated, as the program was originally meant to be local, but has now expanded across the region, country, and globe! The long-term goal being to continue expanding the PC-PEP throughout Atlantic Canada, and the rest of the country and eventually on to other forms of cancer such as breast, lung, colorectal, and more. Negotiations to expand the program outside Canada are already underway.

Dr. Gabriela Ilie

Dr. Ilie’s research has been a direct result of generous donors, and as such, the PC-PEP has now opened up the Phase 4 trials and is welcoming newly diagnosed patients with local and metastatic forms of prostate cancer. The project is dedicated to healing and transformation through medical science. Your donor dollars have been and will continue to be put to work!

“Together, we are changing lives. Every penny donors have given, has an exponential effect on the research”

Dr. Gabriela Ilie

During a month such as Men’s Health Awareness Month - we from the DMRF team thank Dr. Gabriela Ilie and donors alike, for the hard work, repeated donations, and dedication to impactful medical research.

Learn more at

A message from Dr. Gabriela Ilie:

"To prostate cancer patients: Come join a community of patients and clinicians to help you achieve a good quality of life. You are not alone."