Cancer patients who are physically fit before having surgery tend to have a better recovery. Unfortunately, cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, which patients often receive before their surgery, reduce a patient’s fitness. Research at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust has found that patients can maintain or even increase their fitness before surgery by taking part in an exercise programme in hospital. In order to find a model for delivering such a programme more widely in the NHS the team want to test if patients are also able to take part in such an exercise programme in the community (gyms and charity centres), and whether providing additional psychological support to prepare them for surgery (improving mental fitness) is also helpful to recovery.
Phase III pragmatic 2x2 factorial design randomised trial, assessing efficacy of implementation of a prehabilitation programme in patients undergoing cancer surgery.
Cancer patients undergoing intra-cavity elective major surgery; oesophageal, gastric, colorectal, thoracic and urology.
In previous hospital-based prehab exercise trials at University Hospital Southampton adherence rates have been high (up to 96%). Patients interviewed after the trial said they were able to build camaraderie and peer support and experience a sense of control
When asked how we could improve the programme, patients said they would like continued support; help to get back to exercise after surgery. This trial has therefore added follow-up support to help patients get back to being active in the months after surgery