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Daniel Steffens & team: Feasibility and acceptability of pre-operative exercise to improve patient outcomes after major cancer surgery: A pilot randomised controlled trial

RESEARCH TYPE
T2,T3
PROGRAM
Flagship 2 Pilot and Seed
TAGS
    Clinical Trials
    Exercise
STATUS
Complete

Promoting physical activity in the pre-operative period appears promising to improve functional capacity and facilitate post-operative recovery. This pilot study will establish the feasibility and acceptability of a pre-operative individualised exercise program to reduce post-operative complication rates among patients undergoing pelvic exenteration at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. A total of 20 patients will be randomly assigned to receive an exercise program or standard usual care. This research project will help with the development of a full scale randomise controlled trial. 

Pilot and Seed Funding Awarded:

  • CIA: Daniel Steffens
  • Member Group: Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
  • Year and Duration: 2017 for 18months
  • Amount: $48,370

Q&A with Daniel:

What was the catalyst to you researching this topic right now?

The only hope of survival for patients presenting with advanced cancer of the pelvis is to completely resect all malignant disease to achieve a clear resection margin. While this procedure improves the 5-year survival, rates of major post-operative complications remain stubbornly high. Between 37 and 100% of patients (median of 57%) will develop major complications at intra- or post-operative. Thus, the average length of hospital stay for patients undergoing pelvic exenteration is about 30 days at an average cost of AU$137,500 per patient. In other patient groups, promoting physical activity in the pre-operative period appears to be beneficial to patients, improving functional capacity and facilitating post-operative recovery. Thus, improving pelvic exenteration patients' physical condition pre-operatively holds potential to improve key post-operative outcomes.

Why will this investigation be important in the field of translational research?

Advances in surgical skills, devices, medical treatment and intensive care have led to dramatic improvements in 5-year survival for people who have pelvic exenteration for cancer. Reducing the high post-operative complication rates, length of hospital stay and improving post-operative function and quality of life outcomes associated with this procedure represents the next challenge to improve patient wellbeing. The proposed study is innovative in that it represents a novel approach to reducing post-operative complications for people undergoing major gastrointestinal cancer surgery. Ultimately, if the intervention is found to be effective and cost-effective through a larger randomised trial, it could become standard practice for people facing pelvic exenteration surgery.  

If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?

Europe. I enjoy visiting different places, people speaking different languages, the different cultures, landscapes, lifestyles, and all the history.

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