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06 Jan 2020

NHS to offer cancer patients 'prehab' fitness plans
BY Tom Walker

The scheme will see people being invited to sign up for the prehab fitness programmes within 48 hours of being diagnosed with cancer

The scheme will see people being invited to sign up for the prehab fitness programmes within 48 hours of being diagnosed with cancer
photo: Shutterstock

NHS patients who have been diagnosed with cancer will be offered exercise and gym sessions before they start chemotherapy.

The "prehabilitation" programmes will be implemented in the hope that increasing patients' physical activity levels will boost their ability to successfully undergo – and recover – from the often punishing treatments.

The scheme will see thousands of people being invited to sign up for the "prehab" fitness programmes within 48 hours of being diagnosed with cancer.

The programmes will include a mix of high-intensity workouts and strength-based exercise training and will be accompanied by nutritional advice.

There will also be a focus on mental health support, as part of plans to get patients "match fit" and ready to face the often arduous cancer treatments.

Prehab plans are now being made available in Manchester, London, Leicester and across Yorkshire.

The move comes just months after a number of health groups called for prehabilitation being made available for all cancer patients.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Cancer and Nutrition Collaboration, Macmillan Cancer Support and the Royal College of Anaesthetists published a new prehabilitation guide for healthcare professionals to support cancer patients.

The guide recommends that prehabilitation should be adopted as a new approach for all patients with cancer, starting as soon as possible after diagnosis and before any treatment begins.

It places a large emphasis on working with patients and carers, from the initial design of the prehabilitation service to co-developed personalised prehabilitation care plans for each patient.

It also recommends that those delivering the prehabilitation services should be part of multidisciplinary cancer care teams, and that any prehabilitation services provided should be audited to assess their implementation and effectiveness.

To access the guide on prehabilitation, click here.



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