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Norwich Clinical Trials Unit

Norwich Medical School

Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences

University of East Anglia




Colorectal cancer is the fourth commonest cancer in the UK with 40,000 patients diagnosed per year (CRUK, 2015).

The current standard, and best-proven treatment for this patient group is a surgical resection with approximately 25,000 patients in the UK undergoing a major abdominal resection each year.

As with any surgical procedure, there is a risk of post-operative complications and and morbidities associated with this treatment. This can significantly impact on the patient's health both physically and psychologically, which in turn means that patients may have longer and repeated admissions increasing financial burden and pressure on hospital resources.

The Improving Surgical Outcomes Group reported (ISOG, 2005) reported a correlation between the level of cardiopulmonary fitness and post-operative complications suggesting that maximising pre-operative cardiopulmonary fitness could improve surgical outcomes.

In keeping with this suggestion, the health benefits of physical activity for cancer patients are recognized by the National Cancer Survivor Initiative (NCSI), a partnership between NHS England and Macmillan Cancer Support (NCSI 2014). The NCSI places the promotion of post-operative physical activity as one of its four main pillars in the rehabilitation of cancer patients. However lifestyle / exercise advise is not yet routinely given to cancer patients. 

This rationale forms the basis of the Prepare-ABC study where we will be primarily looking into the effects of pre and post operative exercise on post-operative morbidities and quality of life in colorectal cancer patients across the UK.

Some of the Prepare-ABC team at the Launch Day, Royal College of Surgeons 21st November 2016.