Around 1 in 5 people diagnosed with cancer in the UK take part in a clinical trial.
A study looking at improving assessment and treatment for older people with breast cancer or bowel cancer
Please note - this trial is no longer recruiting patients. We hope to add results when they are available.
Cancer treatment can aim either to cure your cancer, or to control symptoms. Doctors will give the highest dose of treatment you can cope with to treat your cancer. But having high doses of chemotherapy or radiotherapy can mean that the side effects are worse.
We know from research that older people with cancer may have less intensive treatment than younger people. This is often because the person may not be well enough to cope with more intensive treatment, or that they may have chosen not to have it. But sometimes there may be other reasons. For example, your doctor may be concerned that you don’t have enough community support.
In this study, researchers want to see how assessment of treatment and support for older people with cancer can be improved. Specialist cancer nurses will ask the people taking part a number of questions to assess how strong or weak (frail) they are. They will also make sure they get any practical support needed during their cancer treatment. Researchers will look at how well this support works, and at training needs for staff looking after elderly people with cancer. The aim of this study is see how well a programme that aims to improve assessment of treatment and support for older people with breast or bowel cancer works.
Who can enter
If you are suitable to join this study, one of the doctors at your outpatients appointment will ask if you would like to take part. People taking part will
You cannot enter this study if
- You were already in hospital having tests or treatment for another condition when you were diagnosed with cancer
- Your doctor thinks you would not be able to cope with the assessment process for any reason
- Your doctor thinks being asked to take part would be upsetting for you
This pilot study will recruit 200 people.
At the start of the study you will talk to a specialist cancer nurse who will ask you questions about your situation, including questions about
- Your living situation
- How easily you can do things for yourself at home, such as washing, dressing and shopping
- How active you are
- Your mood and mental health
- The food you eat and your appetite
Some of these questions will be in written questionnaires, which you can fill out yourself if you prefer. This whole assessment will take about an hour.
Your nurse may ask you some of these questions again during and after your cancer treatment, either face to face or over the phone.
You also fill out another separate questionnaire when you join the study and then twice more during your treatment. The questionnaire will ask about any side effects you have had and about how you have been feeling. This is called a quality of life study. If you prefer, the nurse will help you complete this questionnaire.
The results of the extra assessment will help the team looking after you to work out what support you need as you have your cancer treatment. For example, if you have difficulties driving or using public transport, the team may be able to arrange and pay for taxi rides to get you to your hospital appointments. Or you may be offered help with your shopping or with caring for a family member. You do not have to accept any additional support if you don’t want to. But if you feel you would like to take up the offer of support at any stage during your treatment, let your nurse know and they will arrange that for you.
As a result of the extra assessment, your team may also refer you to another hospital specialist, such as a doctor who specialises in care of older people.
As far as possible, you will complete the study assessments when you are either already at the hospital for your routine appointments, or over the phone.
But if the team cannot fit in the 1 hour assessment at the start of the study during a routine hospital appointment, you may have to make an extra visit for this.
You will not have any side effects as a result of taking part in this study. But it is possible that the assessment may suggest that you have a health problem that has not been diagnosed before, such as a memory problem or depression. If this happens, your nurse would refer you to a specialist for further tests.
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.
Dr Jackie Bridges
Macmillan Cancer Support
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)