ABC UK Improving Outcomes for Patients Programme 2020

IOPP 2020 Grants Awarded

The 2020 round of ABC UK's IOPP grants programme opened for applications in November 2019 and closed at the end of February 2020.  This year has of course been very challenging for everyone, however those working within health services have been particularly impacted and the majority of our applicants to this year's awards were unable to undertake additional research work or to commence their planned projects due to the impact of Covid-19.   ABC UK decided to take a flexible attitude to our grants in 2020 - we felt strongly that we still wished to fund the bladder cancer projects we had selected - and so extended the time frame for projects and supported each applicant to start their work at an appropriate time.  We are now delighted that the five excellent projects our panel chose as recipients of a grant, have confirmed that they are now able to start their work either immediately or in the coming weeks.  We shall add details of each project as they commence.


Project: Promoting physical activity to bladder cancer survivors

Project Leads: Dr Lee Smith, Reader in Physical Activity and Public Health, Director of Research and Income Generation, Cambridge Centre for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Anglia Ruskin University; and Dr Cristian Ilie, consultant urological surgeon and Urological Cancer Lead, Research and Innovation Director at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Foundation Trust (King's Lynn).  

There are many common physical and psychological consequences of cancer and treatment, including fatigue, pain, sleep disturbance, lymphoedema, weight gain, loss of muscle mass, cancer-related distress (e.g. fear of recurrence, financial concerns), anxiety, and depression. Furthermore, the majority of people living with and beyond cancer (LWBC) are living with at least one other long-term chronic condition (e.g. hypertension, obesity, mental health conditions). The Independent Cancer Taskforce recommended that everyone diagnosed with cancer in the UK should have access to the elements of the Recovery Package by 2020. This was upheld in the recently published NHS Long Term Plan. Physical activity (PA), is highlighted in the Recovery Package due to evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of PA interventions that show improvements in fatigue, pain, sleep, lymphoedema, anxiety and depression, body composition and quality of life in people LWBC. Furthermore, there is a large body of observational evidence that shows that people LWBC who are more active have reduced all-cause and cancer-specific mortality risk and a reduced risk of cancer recurrence.

However, despite this, to date, no trial exists to increase physical activity in those living with and beyond bladder cancer. Symptoms present in bladder cancer (differentiating from other solid tumour cancers) may further discourage individuals from participation in PA. Specifically, frequent urination and pain. Patients with some types of bladder cancer might also have a uro-stoma that can interfere with the perceived body image. It would be highly beneficial for patients and clinicians to have a simple tool which can be utilised to promote PA in bladder cancer survivors (survivor defined as point of diagnosis and beyond) that also takes into account its specific symptoms. Any tool developed to promote PA should be embedded in habit theory to ensure any increase in PA is sustained over time and not "short lived" and the aim is to improve physical and mental health outcomes (during treatment and beyond).

The aim of this project is to develop a tool to promote physical activity in those living with and beyond bladder cancer- it will be embedded in habit theory to ensure physical activity is sustained and will be in the form of a self-guided printed booklet. The content will be developed by patients, health professionals and experts in the field, and be given to the patients between diagnosis and treatment by the medical consultant leading the patients care. The impact of the booklet on patients' physical activity levels, physical and psychological health will be evaluated using an experimental trial, and patients interviewed to identify their experiences of using the guide.  Ultiamtely,the aim is to integrate the content into a mobile application, which can be disseminated more widely.



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