The ALLIANCE publishes views on cancer prehabilitation services in Scotland

Section: People and NetworksThe ALLIANCEType: News Item Date Published: 19th April 2022

The new report summarises the experiences of people affected by cancer who attended our focus groups in 2021.

The Macmillan Transforming Cancer Care Lived Experience programme’s new report breaks down the findings from these focus groups into five key areas:

  • Awareness and perceptions of ‘cancer prehabilitation’;
  • Accessing cancer prehabilitation support;
  • Perceived cancer prehabilitation support needs;
  • The role of information and digital technology;
  • And wider themes for consideration.

The experiences and views shared at these focus groups have shaped the recommendations the ALLIANCE has made to the Scottish Government, directly influencing the design and delivery of cancer prehabilitation services in Scotland. Our recommendations include:

  • Continuing to engage with people affected by cancer to assure any resultant cancer prehabilitation service proposals meet the needs of current or future cancer prehabilitation service users and their families or supporters.
  • Ensuring people affected by cancer have access to flexible, person centred nutritional, physical and psychological support before, during and after cancer treatment as part of a continuum of care based on individual need.
  • Developing careful messaging through social marketing and other health communication methods to promote the benefits of psychological, physical and nutritional interventions. Messaging and communications must take account of individual preferences for language and terminology; different levels of understanding and health literacy; and potential sensitivities regarding physical or psychological health experienced by people newly diagnosed with cancer.
  • Designing cancer support services, including prehabilitation, that reflect the standards and quality of care expected by people affected by cancer, including, but not limited to an expressed desire for:
    • A timeous offer of prehabilitation support immediately following diagnosis;
    • Personalised, local and flexible prehabilitation service provision that includes options for digital service provision and face-to-face services that create opportunity for personal connections;
    • Out of hours access to support from a professional involved in their care throughout prehabilitation and beyond;
    • Telephone helplines or single points of contact to be staffed;
    • Greater ease of access to care plans and results of assessments and/or tests for both the patient and all clinicians involved in their care;
    • The burden of completing assessments and questionnaires to be kept to a minimum;
    • Improved signposting and access to trusted sources of information online for people affected by any cancer, including rare and less survivable cancers;
    • Greater involvement of family members or supporters in clinical discussions if the person affected by cancer wishes them to be.
  • And disseminating the findings of this report widely, alongside other available sources of information on people’s lived experience of cancer services, to ensure that cancer prehabilitation service design decisions are influenced by what people affected by cancer have told us matters most to them.

For further information on this report, please get in touch with us at We would love to hear from you!

Read the report in full below.

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