Introduction: Due to improvements in detection, treatment and care an increasing number of patients are living with or surviving cancer. However, many patients who survive cancer experience a range of long term side effects of cancer and its treatment, which impact their health and quality of life. Cancer focused rehabilitation services have the potential to positively impact health related outcomes. Despite emerging programs, many survivors continue to have unmet recovery support needs and are unable to access this care. Digitally enabled interventions may offer opportunities.
Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of a remotely delivered, 12-week multidisciplinary cancer rehabilitation program on health related outcomes in people with a history of cancer.
Methods: At intake and program completion, program participants completed a series of patient reported outcome measures (PROMs) related to levels of pain, fatigue, quality of life, psychological distress, perceived self-efficacy and self-reported exercise levels was measured. Descriptive analyses and t tests were conducted on each variable retrospectively. The sample was non randomised.
Results: Data from 101 participants was analysed, with a high proportion of participants (75%) being female. The average age at intake was 52 years old (range 30 to 75 years). The most common diagnosis among the sample was breast (45%), followed by colorectal cancers (15%). Pre-post data analysis showed statistically significant improvements (P < .001) were found for self-reported measures of fatigue, pain, psychological well being, self-efficacy and exercise levels.
Conclusion: New approaches to rehabilitation and recovery for cancer survivors are needed. Delivery through digital technology has the potential to improve access to recovery services and positively impact on health related outcomes.