Date: 02 November 2018
The NIHR is investing £2.5 million in a unique new study to find out if long-term exercise can help tackle the side effects of prostate cancer treatment.
The STAMINA study will test whether a long-term supported exercise programme, included as part of NHS cancer care and delivered by commercial partners in the community, can help reduce side effects in men who have had androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) as part of prostate cancer treatment.
STAMINA is a five year study funded by NIHR’s Programme Grants for Applied Research scheme, and led by researchers at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, Sheffield Hallam University and in partnership with not-for-profit healthcare provider Nuffield Health.
ADT is a standard treatment for men with advanced prostate cancer but causes several side effects. Men can experience fatigue and depression as well as sexual and cognitive problems, and are at an increased risk of bone fractures, diabetes, and heart and circulatory issues.
Previous research has shown that short-term exercise can help tackle some of these side effects. Current treatment guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommend 12 weeks of supervised exercise for men having ADT to help boost their quality of life. But the benefits of exercise decline without ongoing support, and very few treatment centres are able to offer exercise as a core part of the NHS service for men with prostate cancer.
The STAMINA study will involve around 1000 men being treated with ADT, split randomly into two groups. One group will receive a 12-month individually tailored exercise programme delivered free of charge by Nuffield Health, through their national network of Fitness and Wellbeing Clubs. The other group will receive NHS best practice treatment based on the NICE guidance. The study will take place at around 40 NHS sites.
Chief Investigator and consultant urological surgeon at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Mr Derek Rosario, said of the study: “We have shown that specific targeted exercise training significantly reduces many of the adverse effects caused by ADT as well as improving quality of life in these men. Unless the intervention is embedded within the cancer care of the man and ongoing support is provided though, participation dwindles and the benefits are lost.
“Finding cost-effective ways of ensuring men on ADT continue with their training programme is essential if we are to reduce the side effects and provide sustained benefits. The NIHR-funded STAMINA study is a novel approach and if the model is successful, it could be applied to a number of long-term health conditions."
Professor Elaine Hay, Director of NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research, said: “The NIHR chose to fund this large programme of research because of its real potential to combat the loss in quality of life experienced by men on ADT. The approach of offering behaviourally-supported, supervised exercise training embedded into NHS prostate cancer treatment is an exemplar of the complex healthcare problems tackled by the NIHR Programme Grants funding scheme.”
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