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UK's first holistic clinical trial to help improve life for cancer sufferers and survivors

For the first time in the UK a clinical trial is being run to examine whether a holistic approach will help people living with and recovering from cancer.

There are more than two million people in the UK who are living with cancer and beyond however a recent survey found that support for those living with and beyond the illness is poor. To find a solution to this problem the University of Warwick is running a study called PRO-REHAB.

It is being led by Professor Annie Young from Warwick Medical School and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, who says “Many people find after treatment they are not offered help and their needs aren’t assessed. They may feel abandoned and don’t know where to go for help or aftercare. However patients and their carers tell healthcare professionals that one of the most important aspects of care is rehabilitation.”

The holistic rehabilitation programme will examine the various problems faced by those undergoing cancer treatments and examine methods of helping them.

They often experience poor sleep disturbance, fatigue, weight loss or gain, sexual difficulties, concerns about getting back to work on top of worries about their illness and treatment.

However unlike cardiac patients those recovering from cancer are not automatically referred for rehabilitation.

The study will examine what is happening now (usual care) and the effectiveness of two rehabilitation programmes and will include volunteers completing questionnaires and developing individual care plans for some patients.

The care plans could include anything from psychological therapies to exercise to healthy diets.

All participants will receive their regular treatment as usual.

Currently the academics are focusing on five types of cancer and are calling for volunteers from the Coventry and Warwickshire area who have completed their main treatment (surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy) for breast, lung, prostate, head and neck or colorectal within the past 12 months.

They want to hear from male and female patients who are over 18 years old.

Professor Young said: “We realise that those diagnosed and receiving treatment for cancer face a number of challenges and taking part in a research programme may seem another drain on their energy and time. However participating in the scheme will have a minimal impact on their day-to-day lives. Everyone who contributes to this trial will be helping us to improve and increase the lives of people with cancer in the future.”

Source: Warwick Medical School

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Founding partners

European Cancer Organisation European Institute of Oncology

Founding Charities

Foundazione Umberto Veronesi Fondazione IEO Swiss Bridge

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Cancer Intelligence