The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Shape Up 4 Cancer Surgery - a new cancer support pathway for patients in Leeds

16 October 2023

ShapeUp 4 cancer team landAn innovative support service, which enhances cancer patient care and reduces the potential likelihood of complications from surgery, has launched in Leeds funded by Macmillan Cancer Support.

Shape Up 4 Cancer Surgery, delivered by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust in partnership with Active Leeds, the University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University, helps people with certain cancers prepare for and recover from surgery through the provision of guided physical activity, nutrition and psychological wellbeing support. This is the first partnership of its kind in Leeds

The new approach is based on clinical and academic research that has shown the benefits of ‘prehabilitation’, a personalised pre-operation support programme.  Over the next two years, more than 200 cancer patients will benefit from a bespoke plan including tailored guidance on exercise, nutrition, and psychological and emotional support before, during and after their cancer surgery. It provides individuals with the tools and resources they need to be able to independently manage their health and wellbeing in the long term.

Patients from across Leeds with cancers such as bladder, stomach, bowel, oesophageal and pancreatic are currently being invited to join the programme. Patients will take part in an initial one-stop assessment clinic, before starting their personalised preparation programme designed by a team of specialists from across the city, including cancer exercise specialists, anaesthetists, dietitians, and clinical nurse specialists.

Sophie Blow, clinical lead for perioperative medicine, Leeds Teaching Hospitals, said “We launched our Shape Up 4 Surgery general awareness campaign in 2021 and since then have been talking to patients and gaining their feedback about the online support and guidance. We have found that supporting patients with a PLAN before their surgery is actively contributing to shorter hospital stays, earlier discharges from hospital, and improving recovery after surgery. 

“This new programme reaches out to cancer patients specifically. It follows the same pattern of planning around physical and lifestyle goals and our aim is to help patients prepare for and cope with surgery, spend less time in hospital as a result and prepare them for their post-treatment journey.”

Councillor Salma Arif, Executive member for Adult Social Care, Public Health and Active Lifestyles:

“Exercise plays a vital role in supporting health outcomes and we are really pleased that Active Leeds can support such a fantastic initiative alongside Leeds Teaching Hospitals and Macmillan. I look forward to hearing about the impact that this service will have over the next two years on improving the cancer pathway in Leeds”

Lisa Spivey, Macmillan Partnership Manager

“We’re delighted to support this new initiative at Leeds Teaching Hospitals for the next two years. We really believe in the vital role that exercise plays in improving cancer survival rates, and provided to patients with other treatments and support, this is a fully tailored programme with cancer patients truly at the heart. ”

Macmillan Cancer Support will fund the programme for two years, supporting more than 200 patients with their personalised plan. Data from the programme will be used to shape the future service, with a view that the pilot will extend beyond two years.

To participate in the programme, patients will be referred to Shape Up 4 Cancer Surgery by their Cancer Nurse Specialist.