A Feasibility Study to Assess the Delivery of a Lifestyle Intervention (Treatwell) for Colorectal Cancer Patients Undergoing Potentially Curative Treatment.

Maureen Macleod, Robert J. C. Steele, Ronan E. O’Carroll, Mary Wells, Anna Campbell, Jacqueline A. Sugden, Jackie Rodger, Martine Stead, Jennifer McKell, Annie S. Anderson (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
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Objectives: To assess the feasibility of delivering and evaluating a lifestyle programme for colorectal cancer patients undergoing potentially curative treatments.
Study design: Non-randomised feasibility trial

Setting: NHS Tayside

Participants: Adults with stage I - III colorectal cancer

Intervention: The programme targeted smoking, alcohol, physical activity, diet and weight management. It was delivered in 3 face-to-face counselling sessions (plus 9 phone calls) by lifestyle coaches over three phases (1 - pre-surgery, 2 - surgical recovery and 3 - post treatment recovery).

Primary outcome: Feasibility measures (recruitment, retention, programme implementation, achieved measures, fidelity, factors affecting protocol adherence and acceptability).

Secondary outcomes: Measured changes in body weight, waist circumference, walking and self –reported physical activity, diet, smoking and alcohol intake, fatigue, bowel function and Quality of Life (QoL).

Results: Of 84 patients diagnosed, 22 (26%) were recruited and 15 (18%) completed the study. Median time for intervention delivery was 5.5 hours. Coaches reported covering most (>70%) of the intervention components but had difficulties during phase 2. Evaluation measures (except walk test) were achieved by all participants at baseline, and most (<90%) at end of phase 2 and phase 3, but <20% at end of phase 1. Protocol challenges included limited time between diagnosis and surgery and the presence of co-morbidities. The intervention was rated highly by participants but limited support from NHS staff was noted. The majority of participants (77%) had a BMI >25kg/m2 and none were underweight. Physical activity data showed a positive trend towards increased activity overall but no other changes in secondary outcomes were detected.

Conclusions: To make this intervention feasible for testing as a full trial, further research is required on a) recruitment optimisation b) appropriate assessment tools c) protocols for phase 2 and 3 which can build in flexibility and d) ways for NHS staff to facilitate the program.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere21117
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number6
Early online date6 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2018


  • colorectal cancer
  • lifestyle intervention
  • prehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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