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East London cancer therapy pilot receives £2.5m grant

PUBLISHED: 17:00 18 November 2017

Cancer survivors in east London are set to benefit after a £2.5 million grant was awarded to develop and test a new talking-based therapy.

The project is being led by Queen Mary University of London, Barts Health NHS Trust and King’s College London, and will also involve researchers from universities and health trusts in London, Sheffield and Southampton.

Even though cancer survivors may be in good physical health or in long-term remission, the impact of cancer and its treatment can be very difficult.

The researchers hope that the new therapy will transform aftercare for those living with and beyond cancer.

Co-chief investigator Professor Steph Taylor said: “There are some two million cancer survivors in the UK, which is a great success story, but about a third of these patients report poor quality of life or well-being. This is because of problems such as fatigue, fear of cancer recurrence, and concerns about returning to work.

“If the talking-based therapy proves successful and cost effective, it could be implemented across the NHS to help those cancer survivors who are struggling to cope after the completion of their treatment.”

The money was provided by the National Institute for Health Research, and comes after previous research suggests that a talking treatment - cognitive behavioural therapy - and exercise have some effect on improving the quality of life of cancer survivors.

The therapy will have patients’ views at its heart, helping them to accept what they cannot change and commit to goals they are able to and want to achieve.

The project aims to conduct a full trial of 344 participants at three centres in London and Sheffield to determine whether the talking-based therapy improves quality of life more than usual aftercare, and will involve Macmillan Cancer Support. Known as Surecan, it will also look at safety and cost-effectiveness, evaluate for whom and how the therapy works best, and how it could be adapted for different cultures, including many patients at Barts Health NHS Trust who do not have English as their first language.

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