Prehabilitation for people with cancer

Prehabilitation for people with cancer: principles and guidance for prehabilitation within the management and support of people with cancer | The Royal College of Anaesthetists, Macmillan Cancer Support, and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Cancer and Nutrition Collaboration

This document calls for changes to the delivery of cancer care across the UK, with a greater focus on prehabilitation including nutrition, physical activity and psychological support.

What is prehabilitation?

Prehabilitation supports people living with cancer to prepare for treatment. It promotes healthy behaviours and prescribes exercise, nutrition and psychological interventions based on a person’s needs, to help them find their best way through.

When should it be implemented?

Prehabilitation should be implemented in the early stages of the patient pathway, ideally soon after diagnosis and well in advance of treatment for maximum benefit. It should be seen as part of the rehabilitation pathway, as a way to optimise a person’s health and wellbeing, maximising their resilience to treatment throughout the cancer journey.

What are the benefits?

Prehabilitation offers patients and care givers three main benefits:

  • Personal empowerment: A sense of control and purpose, which prepares people for treatment and improves their quality of life
  • Physical and psychological resilience: An opportunity to improve physiological function and psychological wellbeing, which offers resilience to the effects of cancer treatment, enhances the quality of recovery and helps people to live life as fully as they can
  • Long-term health: An opportunity to reflect on the role of healthy lifestyle practices after a cancer diagnosis, to promote positive health behaviour change.

Further detail at Macmillan Cancer Support

Full document: Prehabilitation for people with cancer: principles and guidance for prehabilitation within the management and support of people with cancer

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