ACTivity as medicine In Oncology for Head and Neck (ACTIOHN): Protocol for a feasibility study investigating a patient-centred approach to exercise for people with head and neck cancer: Activity as medicine in oncology for head and neck cancer

Adrian W. Midgley*, Andrew R. Levy, Simon N. Rogers, Rachel C. Brooker, Valerie Bryant, Mary Gemma Cherry, Steven Lane, Michael M. Nugent, Ruth Price, Andrew G. Schache, Bridget Young, Joanne M. Patterson, Gianpiero Greco (Editor)

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Background and aim: Attempts at personalisation of exercise programmes in head and neck cancer (HaNC) have been limited. The main aim of the present study is to investigate the feasibility and acceptability of introducing a remotely delivered, fully personalised, collaborative, and flexible approach to prescribing and delivering exercise programmes into the HaNC usual care pathway. Methods: This is a single arm, feasibility study. Seventy patients diagnosed with HaNC will be recruited from two regional HaNC centres in the United Kingdom. Patients will undertake an 8-week exercise programme designed and delivered by cancer exercise specialists. The exercise programme will start any time between the time of diagnosis and up to 8 weeks after completing treatment, depending on patient preference. The content of the exercise programme will be primarily based on patient needs, preferences, and goals, but guided by current physical activity guidelines for people with cancer. The primary outcome measure is retention to the study. Secondary quantitative outcomes are uptake to the exercise programme, different measures of exercise adherence, pre- and post-intervention assessments of fatigue (Multidimensional Fatigue Symptom Inventory—Short Form), quality of life (SF-36), physical activity levels (International Physical Activity Questionnaire–Short Form), and various components of physical fitness. The outcomes of the nested qualitative study are acceptability and feasibility of the intervention evaluated via interviews with patients, health care professionals, and the cancer exercise specialists. Intervention and participant fidelity will be determined using checklists and scrutiny of each patient’s logbook and the cancer exercise specialists’ meeting notes. Analysis of quantitative data will be via standard summary statistics. Qualitative data will be analysed using thematic analysis. Expected results: This feasibility study will inform the design and conduct of a future randomised controlled trial. Success will be defined according to a traffic light system for identifying the appropriateness of progression to a randomised controlled trial. Trial registration: International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number registry (ISRCTN82505455).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume18
Issue number8
Early online date25 Aug 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Aug 2023

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