Dr Karen Poole


Teaching Fellow
PhD, BN (Hons), RN, PGCert (Distinction)
+44 (0)1483 682817
HSM 01
09.00-17.00 (except Mondays)

Biography

Areas of specialism

Cancer Care; Cancer Clinical Trials; Lifestyle interventions for people affected by cancer; Patient and Public Involvement in Clinical Research; Innovations to support people undergoing Systemic Anti-Cancer Treatments

My qualifications

2019
Postgraduate Certificate Education for Health Professionals (Distinction)
University of Surrey
1998
PhD (Lord Merthyr Research Scholarship)
University of Wales College of Medicine
1994
Bachelor of Nursing (Hons) (1st Class)
University of Wales College of Medicine
1994
Registered Nurse (Adult)
University of Wales College of Medicine

Previous roles

2017 - 2019
Lecturer in Cancer Care
University of Surrey
2015 - 2017
Research Fellow, TrueNTH Exercise & Diet Project
University of Surrey
2007 - 2014
National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Research Delivery Director (Cancer)
University of Leeds
2002 - 2007
Surrey, West Sussex & Hampshire Cancer Research Network Manager
Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Research

Research interests

Research projects

Research collaborations

My teaching

My publications

Publications

B Egan, H Gage, J Hood, K Poole, C McDowell, G Maguire, L Storey (2012)Availability of complementary and alternative medicine for people with cancer in the British National Health Service: Results of a national survey, In: Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice18(2)pp. 75-80 Elsevier

This study assessed access to Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) therapies for people with cancer within the British National Health Service. CAM units were identified through an internet search in 2009. A total of 142 units, providing 62 different therapies, were identified: 105 (74.0%) England; 23 (16.2%) Scotland; 7 (4.9%) each in Wales and Northern Ireland. Most units provide a small number of therapies (median 4, range 1–20), and focus on complementary, rather than alternative approaches. Counselling is the most widely provided therapy (available at 82.4% of identified units), followed by reflexology (62.0%), aromatherapy (59.1%), reiki (43.0%), massage (42.2%). CAM units per million of the population varied between countries (England: 2.2; Wales: 2.3; Scotland: 4.8; Northern Ireland: 5.0), and within countries. Better publicity for CAM units, greater integration of units in conventional cancer treatment centres may help improve access to CAMs.

SJ Allison, Karen Poole, GM Treece, AH Gee, C Tonkin, WJ Rennie, JP Folland, GD Summers, K Brooke-Wavell (2015)The Influence of High-Impact Exercise on Cortical and Trabecular Bone Mineral Content and 3D Distribution Across the Proximal Femur in Older Men: A Controlled Unilateral Intervention Randomized, In: Journal of Bone and Mineral Research30(9)pp. 1709-1716 Wiley

Regular exercisers have lower fracture risk, despite modest effects of exercise on bone mineral content (BMC). Exercise may produce localized cortical and trabecular bone changes that affect bone strength independently of BMC. We previously demonstrated that brief, daily unilateral hopping exercises increased femoral neck BMC in the exercise leg versus the control leg of older men. This study evaluated the effects of these exercises on cortical and trabecular bone and its 3D distribution across the proximal femur, using clinical CT. Fifty healthy men had pelvic CT scans before and after the exercise intervention. We used hip QCT analysis to quantify BMC in traditional regions of interest and estimate biomechanical variables. Cortical bone mapping localized cortical mass surface density and endocortical trabecular density changes across each proximal femur, which involved registration to a canonical proximal femur model. Following statistical parametric mapping, we visualized and quantified statistically significant changes of variables over time in both legs, and significant differences between legs. Thirty-four men aged mean (SD) 70 (4) years exercised for 12-months, attending 92% of prescribed sessions. In traditional regions of interest, cortical and trabecular BMC increased over time in both legs. Cortical BMC at the trochanter increased more in the exercise than control leg, whereas femoral neck buckling ratio declined more in the exercise than control leg. Across the entire proximal femur, cortical mass surface density increased significantly with exercise (2.7%; p < 0.001), with larger changes (> 6%) at anterior and posterior aspects of the femoral neck and anterior shaft. Endocortical trabecular density also increased (6.4%; p < 0.001), with localized changes of > 12% at the anterior femoral neck, trochanter, and inferior femoral head. Odd impact exercise increased cortical mass surface density and endocortical trabecular density, at regions that may be important to structural integrity. These exercise-induced changes were localized rather than being evenly distributed across the proximal femur. © 2015 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.

C Morris, R Stephens, R West, K Inns, S Fisher, Karen Poole, S Pavitt (2013)“It’s Ok to Ask!" Using intelligence from cancer patient’s experience to deliver improvements.
M Cooper, Karen Poole, D Cameron, R Haward, P Selby, R Kaplan, M Parmar, R Moser, M Seymour (2012)Five fold increase in recruitment of cancer patients to NIHR Cancer Research Network portfolio studies between 2001-2011
Sara Faithfull, Lauren Turner, Karen Poole, Mark Joy, Ralph Manders, Jennifer Weprin, Kerri Winters-Stone, John Saxton (2019)Prehabilitation for adults diagnosed with cancer: A systematic review of long-term physical function, nutrition and patient-reported outcomes, In: European Journal of Cancer Caree13023pp. 1-22 Wiley

Objective Prehabilitation is increasingly being used to mitigate treatment‐related complications and enhance recovery. An individual's state of health at diagnosis, including obesity, physical fitness and comorbidities, are influencing factors for the occurrence of adverse effects. This review explores whether prehabilitation works in improving health outcomes at or beyond the initial 30 days post‐treatment and considers the utility of prehabilitation before cancer treatment. Methods A database search was conducted for articles published with prehabilitation as a pre‐cancer treatment intervention between 2009 and 2017. Studies with no 30 days post‐treatment data were excluded. Outcomes post‐prehabilitation were extracted for physical function, nutrition and patient‐reported outcomes. Results Sixteen randomised controlled trials with a combined 2017 participants and six observational studies with 289 participants were included. Prehabilitation interventions provided multi‐modality components including exercise, nutrition and psychoeducational aspects. Prehabilitation improved gait, cardiopulmonary function, urinary continence, lung function and mood 30 days post‐treatment but was not consistent across studies. Conclusion When combined with rehabilitation, greater benefits were seen in 30‐day gait and physical functioning compared to prehabilitation alone. Large‐scale randomised studies are required to translate what is already known from feasibility studies to improve overall health and increase long‐term cancer patient outcomes.

Hanna Skrobanski, Emma Ream, Karen Poole, Katriina Whitaker (2019)Understanding primary care nurses’ contribution to cancer early diagnosis: A systematic review, In: European Journal of Oncology Nursing41pp. 149-164 Elsevier

Purpose: Primary care nurses can contribute to cancer early diagnosis. The objective of this systematic review was to identify, appraise and synthesise evidence on primary care nurses’ contribution towards cancer early diagnosis in developed countries. Method: The following databases were searched in September 2017: MEDLINE, PsychINFO, CINAHL, SCOPUS, and EMBASE. Data were extracted on nurses’: knowledge of cancer; frequency of 'cancer early diagnosis-related discussions' with patients; and perceived factors influencing these discussions. Studies were appraised using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool. Results: Twenty-one studies were included from: United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, Turkey, Australia, Brazil and Middle East. Studies were mostly of low quality (one did not meet any appraisal criteria, 15 met one, four met two, and one met three). Nurses’ knowledge of cancer, and their frequency of ‘cancer early diagnosis-related discussions’, varied across countries. This may be due to measurement bias or nurses’ divergent roles across healthcare systems. Commonly perceived barriers to having screening discussions included: lack of time, insufficient knowledge and communication skills, and believing that patients react negatively to this topic being raised Conclusions: Findings suggest a need for nurses to be adequately informed about, and have the confidence and skills to discuss, the topic of cancer early diagnosis. Further high-quality research is required to understand international variation in primary care nurses’ contribution to this field, and to develop and evaluate optimal methods for preparing them for, and supporting them in, this.

Sara Faithfull, C Burton, S Clarke, M Kirby, A Lyon, G Levitt, Karen Poole, F Walter (2017)Mitigating risk of cardiovascular disease in people living with and beyond cancer, In: Cancer Nursing Practice16(1)pp. 18-23 RCN Publishing

Rates of cancer survival have increased in recent decades due to earlier diagnosis and improved therapies, but a longer life span does not necessarily equate to a healthier life. Chronic illness as a consequence of cancer and its treatment is reported in a significant proportion of survivors. An increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as myocardial infarction, stroke and heart failure. Is one of the side effects of some cancer therapies. Nurses in oncology and primary care can minimise cardiovascular risks by improving people’s awareness of symptoms, conducting health assessment and appropriate referrals. Secondary prevention through lifestyle advice, smoking cessation and obesity reduction is also essential. This should be in combination with more detailed cardiac assessment for those high-risk groups at all stages of the patient pathway. Appropriate risk management and early detection of heart problems can prevent long term illness and reduce multimorbidity for people living with and beyond cancer.

Karen Poole, J Anning, M Campbell, Sophie Gasson, J Heyworth, S Langley, J Saxton, Sara Faithfull (2016)Stimulating’, ‘ reassuring’ or ‘just interesting’: men’s perceptions of a fitness assessment after treatment for prostate cancer
Lauren Turner, Karen Poole, Sara Faithfull, Bruce Griffin (2017)Current and future strategies for the nutritional management of cardiometabolic complications of androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer, In: Nutr Res Rev30(2)pp. 220-232 Cambridge University Press

Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is used widely as part of a combined modality for the treatment of prostate cancer. However, ADT has also been associated with the development of cardiometabolic complications that can increase mortality from cardiovascular events. There is emerging evidence to suggest that ADT-related cardiometabolic risk can be mitigated by diet and lifestyle modification. While the clinical focus for a nutritional approach for achieving this effect is unclear, it may depend upon the timely assessment and targeting of dietary changes to the specific risk phenotype of the patient. The present review aims to address the metabolic origins of ADT-related cardiometabolic risk, existing evidence for the effects of dietary intervention in modifying this risk, and the priorities for future dietary strategies.

H Gage, L Storey, C McDowell, G Maguire, P Williams, S Faithfull, H Thomas, K Poole (2009)Integrated care: Utilisation of complementary and alternative medicine within a conventional cancer treatment centre, In: Complementary Therapies in Medicine17(2)pp. 84-91

Objectives: To estimate the proportion of cancer outpatients who visit a Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) unit that is located within a conventional cancer treatment centre; to compare the characteristics of CAM unit visitors with those of all outpatients; to monitor the demand for 20 CAM therapies delivered by professionals, and the use of the CAM unit for waiting, gathering information and informal support from volunteer staff. Design: Prospective, observational, over a six month period. Setting: CAM unit within a NHS cancer treatment centre. Main outcome measures: Utilisation of the CAM unit for 20 complementary therapies, and for waiting, gathering information, informal support; characteristics of CAM users compared with those of all cancer outpatients attending the cancer centre; predictors of CAM therapy use and frequent use. Results: 761 (95% of those approached) people were recruited, 498 (65.4%) cancer patients, 202 (26.5%) relatives, 37 (4.8%) friends/carers, 24 (3.2%) staff. Women predominated (n = 560, 73.6%). Of all outpatients attending the cancer centre, 498 (15.8%) visited the CAM unit, 290 (9.2%) accessed therapies. Compared to all outpatients, those visiting the CAM unit were: younger (mean 63.7 vs. 58.4 years), more likely to be female (57.9% vs. 78.7%), have breast (14.8% vs. 51.9%), gynaecotogical (5.0% vs. 9.1%) cancer, live in local postal district (57.3% vs. 61.6%). Significant predictors of therapy use and frequent visits were being a patient, female, higher education, living closer to the cancer centre. Conclusions: Despite easy access to CAM therapies, a relatively small number of people regularly used them, whilst a larger number selectively tried a few. The integrated CAM unit meets a demand for information and informal support. The findings inform emerging policy on integrating CAM and conventional cancer treatment to address psychosocial needs of people with cancer. More research is needed on why people do not use integrated CAM services and how charges affect demand. (C) 2008 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Agnieszka Lemanska, Karen Poole, Jonathan J. Aning, Bruce A. Griffin, Ralph Manders, John M. Saxton, Joe Wainwright, Sara Faithfull (2019)The Siconolfi step test: a valid and reliable assessment of cardiopulmonary fitness in older men with prostate cancer, In: European Review of Aging and Physical Activity16(1)pp. 1-10 BMC

Background Assessing fitness and promoting regular physical activity can improve health outcomes and early recovery in prostate cancer. This is however, underutilised in clinical practice. The cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET) is increasingly being used pre-treatment to measure aerobic capacity and peak oxygen consumption (VO2peak - a gold standard in cardiopulmonary fitness assessment). However, CPET requires expensive equipment and may not always be appropriate. The Siconolfi step test (SST) is simpler and cheaper, and could provide an alternative. The aim of this study was to evaluate the validity and reliability of SST for predicting cardiopulmonary fitness in men with prostate cancer. Men were recruited to this two-centre study (Surrey and Newcastle, United Kingdom) after treatment for locally advanced prostate cancer. They had one or more of three risk factors: elevated blood pressure, overweight (BMI ˃ 25), or androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). Cardiopulmonary fitness was measured using SST and cycle ergometry CPET, at two visits three months apart. The validity of SST was assessed by comparing it to CPET. The VO2peak predicted from SST was compared to the VO2peak directly measured with CPET. The reliability of SST was assessed by comparing repeated measures. Bland-Altman analysis was used to derive limits of agreement in validity and reliability analysis. Results Sixty-six men provided data for both SST and CPET. These data were used for validity analysis. 56 men provided SST data on both visits. These data were used for reliability analysis. SST provided valid prediction of the cardiopulmonary fitness in men ˃ 60 years old. The average difference between CPET and SST was 0.64 ml/kg/min with non-significant positive bias towards CPET (P = 0.217). Bland-Altman 95% limits of agreement of SST with CPET were ± 7.62 ml/kg/min. SST was reliable across the whole age range. Predicted VO2peak was on average 0.53 ml/kg/min higher at Visit 2 than at Visit 1 (P = 0.181). Bland-Altman 95% limits of agreement between repeated SST measures were ± 5.84 ml/kg/min. Conclusions SST provides a valid and reliable alternative to CPET for the assessment of cardiopulmonary fitness in older men with prostate cancer. Caution is advised when assessing men 60 years old or younger because the VO2peak predicted with SST was significantly lower than that measured with CPET.

Karen Poole, H Gage, L Storey, B Egan, H Thomas (2007)Home Chemotherapy: should patients have a choice?, In: British Journal of Home Healthcare2(2)pp. 12-14
C Morris, R West, R Stephens, M Baker, E Blaveri, R Brannan, S Fisher, J Hanson, K Inns, S Pavitt, Karen Poole, R Race (2014)Keeping the customer satisfied: is taking part in research associated with better experience of care? Findings from the National Cancer Patient Experience Survey
C Morris, R West, R Stephens, M Baker, E Blaveri, R Brannan, S Fisher, J Hanson, K Inns, S Pavitt, Karen Poole, R Race (2014)Keeping the customer satisfied: It’s okay to ask – who are we asking? Variations by type of cancer. Further findings from the National Cancer Patient Experience Survey
Sara Faithfull, Agnieszka Lemanska, Karen Poole, Jonathan Aning, Ralph Manders, John Marshall, John Saxton, Lauren Turner, Bruce Griffin (2021)Obesity and low levels of physical activity impact on cardiopulmonary fitness in older men after treatment for prostate cancer, In: European journal of cancer caree13476

The purpose of this study was to compare fitness parameters and cardiovascular disease risk of older and younger men with prostate cancer (PCa) and explore how men's fitness scores compared to normative age values. 83 men were recruited post-treatment and undertook a cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET), sit-to-stand, step-and-grip strength tests and provided blood samples for serum lipids and HbA1c. We calculated waist-to-hip ratio, cardiovascular risk (QRISK2), Charlson comorbidity index (CCI) and Godin leisure-time exercise questionnaire [GLTEQ]. Age-group comparisons were made using normative data. Men > 75 years, had lower cardiopulmonary fitness, as measured by VO2 Peak (ml/kg/min) 15.8 + 3.8 p < 0.001, and lower grip strength(28.6+5.2 kg p < 0.001) than younger men. BMI ≥30kg/m2 and higher blood pressure all contributed to a QRisk2 score indicative of 20% chance of cardiovascular risk within 10 years (mean: 36.9–6.1) p < 0.001. Age, BMI and perceived physical activity were significantly associated with lower cardiopulmonary fitness. Men with PCa > 75 years had more cardiovascular risk factors compared to normative standards for men of their age. Although ADT was more frequent in older men, this was not found to be associated with cardiopulmonary fitness, but obesity and low levels of physical activity were. Secondary prevention should be addressed in men with PCa to improve men's overall health.

C Morris, R West, R Stephens, M Baker, E Blaveri, R Brannan, S Fisher, J Hanson, K Inns, S Pavitt, Karen Poole, R Race (2014)Keeping the customer satisfied: It’s okay to ask – who are we asking and who participates. Further findings from the National Cancer Patient Experience Survey
D Cameron, M Cooper, R Haward, R Kaplan, Karen Poole, N Lester, R McLaren, R Moser, M Parmar, P Selby, M Stead (2011)Four fold increase in recruitment of cancer patients to NCRN portfolio studies between 2001-2010: a tale of investment bringing returns
Karen Poole, Jane Ogden, Sophie Gasson, Agnieszka Lemanska, Fiona Archer, Bruce Griffin, John Saxton, Karen Lyons, Sara Faithfull (2019)Creating a teachable moment in community pharmacy for men with prostate cancer: A qualitative study of lifestyle changes, In: Psycho-Oncology28(3)pp. pp 593-599 Wiley

Objective It is well established that exercise and lifestyle behaviours improve men's health outcomes from prostate cancer. With 3.8 million men living with the disease worldwide, the challenge is creating accessible intervention approaches that lead to sustainable lifestyle changes. We carried out a phase II feasibility study of a lifestyle intervention delivered by nine community pharmacies in the United Kingdom to inform a larger efficacy study. Qualitative interviews explored how men experienced the intervention, and these data are presented here. Methods Community pharmacies delivered a multicomponent lifestyle intervention to 116 men with prostate cancer. The intervention included a health, strength, and fitness assessment, immediate feedback, lifestyle prescription with telephone support, and reassessment 12 weeks later. Three months after receiving the intervention, 33 participants took part in semistructured telephone interviews. Results Our framework analysis identified how a teachable moment can be created by a community pharmacy intervention. There was evidence of this when men's self‐perception was challenged and coupled to a positive interaction with a pharmacist. Our findings highlight the social context of behaviour change with men identifying how their lifestyle choices were negotiated within their household. There was a ripple effect as lifestyle behaviours made a positive impact on friends and family. Conclusions The teachable moment is not a serendipitous opportunity but can be created by an intervention. Our study adds insight into how community pharmacists can support cancer survivors to make positive lifestyle behaviour changes and suggests a role for doing rather than just telling.

D Cameron, M Cooper, R Haward, R Kaplan, Karen Poole, N Lester, R McLaren, R Moser, M Parmar, P Selby, M Stead (2010)Four fold increase in recruitment of cancer patients to NCRN portfolio studies between 2001-2010: a tale of investment bringing returns.
D Cameron, M Stead, N Lester, M Parmar, R Haward, T Maughan, R Wilson, A Spaull, H Campbell, R Hamilton, D Stewart, L O'Toole, D Kerr, V Potts, R Moser, M Cooper, Karen Poole, J Darbyshire, R Kaplan, M Seymour, P Selby (2011)Research-intensive cancer care in the NHS in the UK, In: Annals of Oncology2(Sup 7)pp. vii29-vii35

In the late 1990s, in response to poor national cancer survival figures, government monies were invested to enhance recruitment to clinical cancer research. Commencing with England in 2001 and then rolling out across all four countries, a network of clinical cancer research infrastructure was created, the new staff being linked to existing clinical care structures including multi-disciplinary teams. In parallel, a UK-wide co-ordination of cancer research funders driven by the ‘virtual’ National Cancer Research Institute, combined to create a ‘whole-system approach’ linking research funders, researchers and NHS clinicians all working to the same ends. Over the next 10 years, recruitment to clinical trials and other well-designed studies, increased 4-fold, reaching 17% of the incident cancer population, the highest national rate world-wide. The additional resources led to more studies opened, and more patients recruited across the country, for all types of cancers and irrespective of additional clinical research staff in some hospitals. In 2006, a co-ordinated decision was made to increasingly focus on randomized trials, leading to increased recruitment, without any fall-off in accrual to non-randomized and observational studies. The National Cancer Research Network has supported large successful trials which are changing clinical practice in many cancers.

C Foster, J Haviland, J Winter, C Grimmett, K Seymour, L Batehup, L Calman, J Corner, A Din, D Fenlon, Christine May, A Richardson, P Smith (2016)Pre-Surgery Depression and Confidence to Manage Problems Predict Recovery Trajectories of Health and Wellbeing in the First Two Years following Colorectal Cancer: Results from the CREW Cohort Study, In: PLoS ONE11(5)e0155434 Public Library of Science

Purpose This paper identifies predictors of recovery trajectories of quality of life (QoL), health status and personal wellbeing in the two years following colorectal cancer surgery. Methods 872 adults receiving curative intent surgery during November 2010 to March 2012. Questionnaires at baseline, 3, 9, 15, 24 months post-surgery assessed QoL, health status, wellbeing, confidence to manage illness-related problems (self-efficacy), social support, comorbidities, socio-demographic, clinical and treatment characteristics. Group-based trajectory analyses identified distinct trajectories and predictors for QoL, health status and wellbeing. Results Four recovery trajectories were identified for each outcome. Groups 1 and 2 fared consistently well (scores above/within normal range); 70.5% of participants for QoL, 33.3% health status, 77.6% wellbeing. Group 3 had some problems (24.2% QoL, 59.3% health, 18.2% wellbeing); Group 4 fared consistently poorly (5.3% QoL, 7.4% health, 4.2% wellbeing). Higher pre-surgery depression and lower self-efficacy were significantly associated with poorer trajectories for all three outcomes after adjusting for other important predictors including disease characteristics, stoma, anxiety and social support. Conclusions Psychosocial factors including self-efficacy and depression before surgery predict recovery trajectories in QoL, health status and wellbeing following colorectal cancer treatment independent of treatment or disease characteristics. This has significant implications for colorectal cancer management as appropriate support may be improved by early intervention resulting in more positive recovery experiences.

Bernadette Egan, Heather Gage, J Hood, Karen Poole, C McDowell, G Maguire, L Storey (2012)Availability of CAM for people with cancer in the British NHS: the results of a national survey, In: Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice18(2)pp. 75-80 Elsevier

This study assessed access to Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) therapies for people with cancer within the British National Health Service. CAM units were identified through an internet search in 2009. A total of 142 units, providing 62 different therapies, were identified: 105 (74.0%) England; 23 (16.2%) Scotland; 7 (4.9%) each in Wales and Northern Ireland. Most units provide a small number of therapies (median 4, range 1–20), and focus on complementary, rather than alternative approaches. Counselling is the most widely provided therapy (available at 82.4% of identified units), followed by reflexology (62.0%), aromatherapy (59.1%), reiki (43.0%), massage (42.2%). CAM units per million of the population varied between countries (England: 2.2; Wales: 2.3; Scotland: 4.8; Northern Ireland: 5.0), and within countries. Better publicity for CAM units, greater integration of units in conventional cancer treatment centres may help improve access to CAMs.

Agnieszka Lemanska, Karen Poole, Bruce A. Griffin, Ralph Manders, John M Saxton, Lauren Turner, Joe Wainwright, Sara Faithfull (2019)Community pharmacy lifestyle intervention to increase physical activity and improve cardiovascular health of men with prostate cancer: a phase II feasibility study, In: BMJ Open9(6)e025114 BMJ Publishing group

Objectives: To assess the feasibility and acceptability of a community pharmacy lifestyle intervention to improve physical activity and cardiovascular health of men with prostate cancer. To refine the intervention. Design: Phase II feasibility study of a complex intervention. Setting: Nine community pharmacies in the UK. Intervention: Community pharmacy teams were trained to deliver a health assessment including fitness, strength and anthropometric measures. A computer algorithm generated a personalised lifestyle prescription for a homebased programme accompanied by supporting resources. The health assessment was repeated 12 weeks later and support phone calls were provided at weeks 1 and 6. Participants: 116 men who completed treatment for prostate cancer. Outcome measures: The feasibility and acceptability of the intervention and the delivery model were assessed by evaluating study processes (rate of participant recruitment, consent, retention and adverse events), by analysing delivery data and semi-structured interviews with participants and by focus groups with pharmacy teams. Physical activity (measured with accelerometry at baseline, 3 and 6 months) and patient reported outcomes (activation, dietary intake and quality of life) were evaluated. Change in physical activity was used to inform the sample size calculations for a future trial. Results: Out of 403 invited men, 172 (43%) responded and 116 (29%) participated. Of these, 99 (85%) completed the intervention and 88 (76%) completed the 6-month follow-up (attrition 24%). Certain components of the intervention were feasible and acceptable (eg, community pharmacy delivery), while others were more challenging (eg, fitness assessment) and will be refined for future studies. By 3 months, moderate to vigorous physical activity increased on average by 34 min (95% CI 6 to 62, p=0.018), but this was not sustained over 6 months. Conclusions: The community pharmacy intervention was feasible and acceptable. Results are encouraging and warrant a definitive trial to assess the effectiveness of the refined intervention.

J Haviland, S Sodergren, L Calman, J Corner, A Din, D Fenlon, C Grimmett, A Richardson, P Smith, J Winter (2017)Social support following diagnosis and treatment for colorectal cancer and associations with health‐related quality of life:Results from the UK ColoREctal Wellbeing (CREW) cohort study, In: Psycho‐Oncology26(12)pp. 2276-2284 Wiley

Objective Social support is acknowledged as important in cancer survivorship, but little is known about change in support after cancer diagnosis and factors associated with this, particularly in colorectal cancer. The CREW cohort study investigated social support up to 2 years following curative intent surgery for colorectal cancer. Methods A total of 871 adults recruited pre‐treatment from 29 UK centres 2010 to 2012 consented to follow‐up. Questionnaires at baseline, 3, 9, 15, and 24 months post‐surgery included assessments of social support (Medical Outcomes Study‐Social Support Survey, MOS‐SSS) and health‐related quality of life (HRQoL). Socio‐demographic, clinical and treatment details were collected. Longitudinal analyses assessed social support over follow‐up, associations with participant characteristics, and HRQoL. Results Around 20% were living alone and 30% without a partner. Perceived social support declined in around 29% of participants, with 8% of these reporting very low levels overall from baseline to 2 years (mean MOS‐SSS overall score < 40 on a scale from 0 to 100). Older age, female gender, greater neighbourhood deprivation, presence of co‐morbidities, and rectal cancer site were significantly associated with reductions in perceived support. Poorer HRQoL outcomes (generic health/QoL, reduced wellbeing, anxiety, and depression) were significantly associated with lower levels of social support. Conclusions Levels of social support decline following colorectal cancer diagnosis and treatment in nearly a third of patients and are an important risk factor for recovery of HRQoL. Assessment of support early on and throughout follow‐up would enable targeted interventions to improve recovery, particularly in the more vulnerable patient groups at risk of poorer social support.

Additional publications