Rehabilitation following oesophageal cancer: Idenfitying rehabilitative needs and strategies

The treatments used to cure cancer of the oesophagus (food pipe) are usually twofold. Patients may first receive chemotherapy (drug treatment) to shrink the cancer followed by surgery to remove the oesophagus from the body. Patients who undergo this treatment for oesophageal cancer experience a number of weakening side-effects which have a negative impact on their ability to complete normal activities and on their quality of life. These side-effects include muscle wasting, extreme tiredness, poor appetite and weight loss. Today increasing numbers of people are surviving after oesophageal cancer. Very little is known about the best rehabilitation (exercise and diet) advice to provide to this group in order to assist them to recover fully following treatment.
This project plans to complete measures of physical performance (walking and ability to climb stairs) at cancer diagnosis and throughout treatment to gain a greater understanding of the extent to which physical performance is negatively affected by oesophageal cancer treatment. In addition, we will track changes in body composition (body fat and muscle content), food intake and blood markers which may be affecting a patients ability to be active. When the cancer treatment is complete, patients will be invited to complete a 12-week recovery programme which will include a walking programme, diet advice and education sessions with different healthcare professionals. The aim of this programme will help patients return to normal activity levels and to improve their quality of life.
This study will be the first to measure the impact that treatments for oesophageal cancer has on the ability of patients to complete normal activities. This study will also show for the first time how a rehabilitation programme involving exercise and diet advice may help a patient recovery in the early period following treatment.

Award Date
19 June 2014
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Dr Juliette Hussey
Host Institution
Trinity College Dublin
Health Research Awards