A study looking at giving lifestyle advice to people having treatment for bowel cancer (TreatWELL)

Please note - this trial is no longer recruiting patients. We hope to add results when they are available.

Cancer type:

Bowel (colorectal) cancer
Colon cancer
Rectal cancer





This study is looking at giving advice about diet, physical activity and other lifestyle factors to people having treatment for bowel cancer.

Making certain lifestyle changes may improve the outcome for people having treatment for bowel cancer. In this study, researchers want to see how practical it is to provide a lifestyle advice programme for people from shortly after they are diagnosed until the end of their treatment. It is called the TreatWELL intervention programme.

The programme includes advice about increasing the amount of physical activity you do and improving your diet. If appropriate, they may also give you advice about stopping smoking and reducing the amount of alcohol you drink.

Who can enter

You may be asked to join this study if

  • You have been diagnosed with bowel cancer and are going to have surgery at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee or Perth Royal Infirmary
  • Your bowel cancer has not spread to another part of your body and you are well enough to have surgery to remove your cancer
  • You are at least 18 years old

You cannot join this study if any of these apply. You

  • Need to have emergency surgery
  • Have problems with your memory or with processing information (severe cognitive impairment)
  • Are not receiving NHS treatment within Tayside

Trial design

This is a feasibility study to see if it possible to deliver the TreatWELL intervention programme to people having treatment for bowel cancer. The researchers hope that more than 30 people will agree to take part.

The programme is in 3 phases

  • Phase 1 starts shortly after you are diagnosed with bowel cancer and carries on until you have surgery
  • Phase 2 is in the weeks immediately after surgery
  • Phase 3 starts about 3 weeks after your operation. It lasts at least 10 weeks, but may last up to 25 weeks (depending on whether you have other treatments such as chemotherapy)

If you agree to take part, you see a research nurse 4 times. The nurse will measure your height, weight and round your waist. They will ask questions about what you eat, whether you take any medication, how much physical activity you do and how much alcohol you drink. They will also ask questions about how you would describe your health.

You will do a walking test to see how many times you can walk 25 metres in 6 minutes. You can rest as many times as you need to during the test.

After your first visit to the research nurse, a lifestyle counsellor will phone you to arrange an appointment. You see the lifestyle counsellor at least 3 times during the study. And they will contact you by phone at least 12 times.

In phase 1, you have an hour session, during which you will set goals aiming towards doing 20 to 25 minutes of moderate activity per day. If you already do this much exercise, the counsellor will encourage you to keep up this amount and possibly do a bit more.

If you smoke, the counsellor will offer to refer you to a service to help you to stop smoking. If appropriate, they will also encourage you to cut down the amount of alcohol you drink.

In phase 3 of the study, they will also give advice on how to avoid gaining weight and how to improve your diet.

The study team want to see what you think of taking part in the study. At the end of phases 2 and 3, they may ask to interview you about your experience. This will be with a different member of the research team. The interviews can be face to face or over the phone. With your permission, the researcher will make an audio recording of the interviews.

All the answers you give and the information collected about you during the study is kept confidential Open a glossary item.

Hospital visits

You see the research nurse

  • At the start of the study
  • A few days before surgery
  • A few weeks after surgery
  • At least 10 weeks after surgery

You see the lifestyle counsellor at least 3 times during the study and speak to them by phone at least 12 times.

Side effects

There are no side effects or known risks from taking part in this study.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Professor Annie Anderson

Supported by

Chief Scientist Office (CSO)
NHS Tayside
University of Dundee

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 12219

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Charlie took part in a trial to try new treatments

A picture of Charlie

“I think it’s really important that people keep signing up to these type of trials to push research forward.”

Last reviewed:

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