The EVeCanS Study

Posted on: 20 Jun 2018

The EVeCanS Study

The EVeCanS Study: EValuation of the impact of emotional, nutritional and physical exercise support interventions delivered by a volunteer-led Cancer Support centre, on the unmet needs and health related quality of life of cancer patients.

Clinical Challenge being addressed:  Are the needs of cancer patients, and their families, being met through the provision of supportive services, by volunteer-led community-based centres?

Linked Breakthrough Research Priorities: 6Dr. Frances Drummond

Principal Investigator: Dr Frances Drummond

Project Summary:                                                  

The physical and psychological health of cancer patients can be affected throughout their cancer journey, from diagnosis, through treatment and beyond.  This results in cancer patients, and their families, experiencing new problems, such as increase distress, depression, fatigue, lack of information, and financial worries.  Many of these needs are unmet (1). Supports such as counselling, nutritional advice, exercise programmes, touch therapies and meditation can meet some of the needs of cancer patients and their families and lead to an improvement in their quality of life (2,3).  The National Cancer Strategy 2017-2026, published by the Department of Health also recognise the importance of supports, including psycho-social care, for cancer patients (4).

Currently it is the volunteer-led sector who are offering these supports to cancer patients and their families.  One such service is the East Galway and Midlands Cancer Support Centre. This centre, which is entirely funded by charitable donations, was opened in 2010. It provides many services including, counselling, touch therapies and nutritional advice.  The East Galway and Midlands Cancer Support Centre also established a cancer-only gym, the first in Ireland, where patients can undertake a physiotherapist-developed exercise programme.  In 2017 this centre had approximately 4000 contacts with cancer patients and their families.  The providers of this centre have observed that they are meeting several of the unmet needs of those using the service.  The EVeCanS study will undertake an evaluation of this service (i) investigate the benefit(s) to users, and (ii) to understand how the services can be improved.

Selected Relevant References:

Sanson-Fisher R, Girgis A, Boyes A, Bonevski B, Burton L, Cook P. The unmet supportive care needs of patients with cancer. Supportive Care Review Group. Cancer. 2000;88(1):226-37.

Grégoire C, Bragard I, Jerusalem G, Etienne AM, Coucke P, Dupuis G, Lanctôt D, Faymonville ME. Group interventions to reduce emotional distress and fatigue in breast cancer patients: a 9-month follow-up pragmatic trial. Br J Cancer. 2017;117(10):1442-1449.

Squires RW, Shultz AM, Herrmann J. Exercise Training and Cardiovascular Health in Cancer Patients. Curr Oncol Rep. 2018;20(3):27.

The National Cancer Strategy 2017-2026. Health Services Executive. (http://health.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/National-Cancer-Strategy-2017-2026.pdf).

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