Cancer patients urged to take part in pioneering trial

Please see below press release issued by the University of Warwick on April 11, 2016.

The University of Warwick and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust is running the first UK trial of holistic rehabilitation to examine how to help people living with and beyond cancer and is calling on patients from Coventry, Nuneaton, Warwick, Kenilworth and the surrounding area to take part.

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 led by Professor Annie Young from Warwick Medical School and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust.

She said: “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 need volunteers 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.

The trial is being run in collaboration with Coventry University, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, the George Eliot Hospital and Warwick Hospital and is due to end in May 2016 therefore researchers need volunteers to join as soon as possible.

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.”

To find out more or to sign up contact Joanne Fisher on  024 7657 2940 or or visit the project website here.