Macmillan Cancer Support, the Royal College of Anaesthetists and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Cancer and Nutrition Collaboration are calling for changes to the delivery of cancer care across the UK to include a greater focus on prehabilitation.
In a new report, Prehabilitation for people with cancer, the groups say interventions targeted at improving physical and/or mental health should start as early as possible in patients with cancer and in advance of any cancer treatment, not just at the first cancer treatment.
It is recommended that all people with cancer should have a personalised prehabilitation care plan as part of their overall care.
The report calls for cancer multi-disciplinary teams to include representation from those delivering prehabilitation, providing oversight of the prehabilitation needs of the person to ensure prehabilitation is taking place.
In order to integrate prehabilitation into the UK cancer care pathway, education in nutrition, exercise, psychology and behavioural change should be incorporated into the undergraduate and post-graduate training of health and care professionals, the groups say.
They also call on the Professional Standards Authority, Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity and the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences to work together to define an approach to achieve accreditation and/or regulation for exercise professionals in prehabilitation.
Furthermore, they say the implementation and effectiveness of prehabilitation should be audited as part of a quality assurance and improvement framework delivered and reported according to recognised standards.