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The importance of preparation ‘prehabilitation’ and active recovery pathways in cancer are being increasingly recognised by cancer patients and healthcare providers around the world. The elements of physical activity (link), nutritional management (link) and psychological support (link) appear core to improving patients’ outcomes and quality of life.

GM Cancer is the first regional system in the UK to introduce large scale prehabilitation as a standard of care for cancer patients.

Through transformation funding, GM Cancer Prehab will support more than 1,000 patients per year undergoing cancer interventions (major surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy) through freely accessible preparation and recovery physical activity, nutritional and well-being packages across GM over the next 2 years.

What is the Prehab4Cancer and Recovery programme?

This free programme better prepares people physically and mentally for their cancer treatment. It supports them in their recovery from treatment and gives the opportunity for them to make life-long changes for overall improved health and wellbeing. It is available before and after cancer treatment.

The programme incorporates exercise, nutrition and wellbeing for improved clinical outcomes and quality of life.

It uses a personalised care approach to risk stratify participants and offer them a pathway that best meets their needs. For some this will be a self-managed exercise prescription, for others this will include supervised High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and strengthening sessions in small groups. It includes regular nutritional screening. Patients who are identified as medium to high risk will be highlighted back to their CNS or keyworker for dietetic assessment.

In the prehab phase, prior or during treatment participants will receive an exercise dose graded to their ability. In recovery they will be supported to exercise using a patient-centred approach, accessing activities they wish to in leisure facilities and the wider community.

The GM Active fitness instructors are based across Greater Manchester, in leisure facilities local to where participants live. They are cancer rehabilitation qualified and experienced in working with people with health conditions.

It is based on the latest research and co-designed with relevant NHS healthcare professionals, exercise experts and user involvement.

Why is it important to refer your patient?

  • Better response to treatment

  • Quicker recovery

  • Reduced risk of post-operative complications

  • Reduced anxiety and improved mood

  • Improved energy levels

  • Patient take an active part in their cancer care

  • Lower chance of cancer recurrence

  • Improved general fitness and other health conditions

  • Improves ability for patient to fulfil normal activities

  • Greater sense of control and continuity of care

If your patient is not eligible for the programme, this website contains lots of practical, easy to follow advice, as well as links to other organisations who may be able to help, so please signpost them to

It is important to emphasise to your patient the benefits of preparing themselves before the treatment starts, by increasing exercise, optimising their nutrition and taking care of their mental health.

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