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Prehab: Getting patients fit for cancer treatment


Roy Cairns, 58, was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2019. Twelve months later a tumour was found on his lung.

Mr Cairns said taking part in the cancer prehab programme piloted by the Northern Ireland's South Eastern Health Trust after his second diagnosis was a "win-win", not only for himself but also his surgeons.

"I think when you get that diagnosis you are left floundering and with prehab the support you get gives you focus and a little bit of control back in your life," he said.

Prehabilitation (prehab) means getting ready for cancer treatment in whatever time you have before it starts.

Mr Cairns is one of 175 patients referred to the programme which involves the Belfast City Council and Macmillan Cancer Support.

Dr Cherith Semple said the point of the programme is to " improve people's physical well-being as much as possible before treatment and to offer emotional support at a time that can be traumatic".

Dr Semple, who is a leader in clinical cancer nursing, said this new approach to getting patients fit prior to their surgery was proving a success, both in the short and long-term.

She said: "We know that it can reduce a patient's hospital stay post-surgery and it can reduce your return to hospital with complications directly afterwards."

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Source: BBC News, 20 July 2022

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