£270,000 pilot scheme gives pre-treatment support to cancer patients
By Lucy Ashton
A new scheme to provide pre-treatment support to cancer patients is launching across Scotland.
The project will give tailored help and advice on exercise, nutrition and mental health, to improve outcomes for those preparing for cancer treatment.
Prehabilitation – pre-treatment rehabilitation – will be offered at all eight Maggie’s centres across the country, thanks to Scottish Government investment of £270,000.
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf, left, visited the charity’s Dundee centre where he learned more about the project.
He said: “Prehabilitation enables people with cancer to physically and mentally prepare for treatment by adopting healthy behaviours – with the ultimate aim of improving outcomes for them. It can reduce the length of stay in hospital and post-treatment complications, and improve recovery, fitness, nutritional status, neuro-cognitive function and quality of life.
“This pilot scheme will help us understand how the NHS and Third Sector can work together to help people ahead of their cancer treatment.
“With eight centres across Scotland, working with Maggie’s allows us to meet the needs of cancer patients close to home. We want to empower them to get the best possible results from their treatment, and improve their long-term health.
“Cancer treatment has remained a top priority for the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Maggie’s Chief Executive Dame Laura Lee said: “We are delighted to be working with the Scottish Government to support people with new cancer diagnoses to understand the benefits of making changes before treatment begins.
“Gentle exercise, eating well and emotional and psychological support are already aspects of the Maggie’s core programme of support – but this usually comes after the patient has started treatment. This new project will ensure newly diagnosed people find support sooner, and will be delivered while working with the NHS as part of their overall care package.”
Prehabilitation is a flagship action in the Scottish Government’s Cancer Plan. As a component of rehabilitation, it should underpin the whole cancer pathway and be integral to the care of all people with a cancer diagnosis.
We have established a Cancer Prehabilitation Steering Group, to ensure lessons from the Maggie’s pilot and other approaches are shared across Scotland and inform future ways of working.
Actions in the Scottish Government’s Cancer Plan: Recovery and Redesign: An action plan for cancer services include supporting people by physically and psychologically preparing them for cancer treatment.
The Scottish Government’s Framework for supporting people through Recovery and Rehabilitation during and after the COVID-19 Pandemic calls for prehabilitation services which will maximise resilience and promote general health and wellbeing.
Maggie’s has 25 years of experience providing free cancer support and information in centres across the UK. Scotland’s eight centres are: Edinburgh, Glasgow, Highlands, Aberdeen, Fife, Forth Valley, Lanarkshire and Dundee.
Anyone diagnosed with cancer who is interested in prehabilitation can speak to their cancer care team, or contact their local Maggie’s centre.