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Translation research: ‘Back on Track’, a multiprofessional rehabilitation service for cancer-related fatigue
  1. J H Gracey1,
  2. M Watson2,
  3. C Payne1,
  4. J Rankin3 and
  5. L Dunwoody4
  1. 1Institute of Nursing and Health Research, University of Ulster, Newtownabbey, UK
  2. 2Department of Education and Research, Northern Ireland Hospice, Whiteabbey, UK
  3. 3Physiotherapy Department, Cancer Centre, Belfast City Hospital, Belfast, UK
  4. 4Psychology Research Institute, University of Ulster, Coleraine, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jackie H Gracey, Centre for Health and Rehabilitation Technologies, University of Ulster, Room 1F116, Institute of Nursing and Health Research, Jordanstown Campus, Newtownabbey BT37 0QB, UK; jh.gracey{at}


Objectives To assess the effectiveness and acceptability of an individually tailored rehabilitation intervention for patients with cancer-related fatigue (CRF).

Methods Eighteen individuals, (16 female, two male, aged 40–83 years), who self-reported CRF (above four on a 10-point Likert scale) took part in an 8 week physical activity intervention weekly review and optional gym-based support. Fifteen participants had a primary diagnosis of breast cancer and along with the other participants had multiple myeloma, colorectal or prostate cancer. All participants took part in a goal-oriented walking and muscle strengthening programme with dietary advice and psychological support based on the Transtheoretical Model (TTM) of behaviour change. Effectiveness was assessed by physical and psychological outcomes. Focus groups with participants and individual interviews with the professionals delivering the intervention explored the feasibility and acceptability of the intervention.

Results Statistically significant improvements were seen in the primary outcome of fatigue and on the secondary outcomes of physical function, depression and in triceps skin fold thickness reduction. Participants endorsed the intervention as being highly acceptable, holistic and as important as medical treatments for cancer. The importance of team working was highlighted as key to service delivery and success.

Conclusions A multidisciplinary home-based tailored intervention with optional weekly gym attendance is acceptable to people with CRF, improving physical and psychosocial outcomes. Study limitations and suggestions for further research are discussed.

  • Cancer
  • Rehabilitation
  • Quality of life
  • Survivorship
  • Supportive care

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