A trial to test self help techniques to help control symptoms of cancer affecting the lungs

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

Cancer type:

Cancer spread to the lung
Lung cancer
Non small cell lung cancer
Secondary cancers
Small cell lung cancer





This trial is teaching techniques to people with cancer affecting the lungs, to help them manage breathlessness, coughs and tiredness (fatigue).

If you have lung cancer or another type of cancer which has spread to your lungs you may have one or more of these symptoms. To help, doctors may give you oxygen, cough medicine, steroids and medication to relax your airways. You may also see a physiotherapist Open a glossary item and an occupational therapist Open a glossary item. And, if you need extra support to cope, someone to talk to and care for your mental wellbeing, or help manage things at home.

After talking to other patients and their carers, researchers in this trial have developed techniques you can do for yourself to help improve your symptoms. These involve learning a type of deep controlled breathing, how to control the urge to cough and how to massage or press certain points on your body (acupressure Open a glossary item) to calm symptoms.

They hope to test these techniques in a large group of people, but first they are running a small scale study (a pilot study). Everyone will have the usual care they would have for these symptoms, but half will also be trained in these self help measures. The aims of this trial are to

  • See how well training people to use these techniques works to improve  symptoms
  • See how practical it would be to run a larger trial

Who can enter

You may be able to enter this trial if you

You cannot enter this trial if

  • You have had chemotherapy in the last 4 weeks
  • You have had radiotherapy to your chest to control symptoms in the last 4 weeks
  • You are not bothered by your cough, breathlessness or tiredness
  • In the last 4 weeks you have needed new medication to treat a chest infection or a group of conditions that cause difficulty breathing called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that has got worse
  • Your breathlessness is quickly getting worse and needing urgent medical care
  • You have any problems with your heart, muscles, bones or nerves that are bothering you

Trial design

This pilot study will recruit 120 people. It is randomised. The people taking part are put into 1 of 2 groups by a computer. Neither you nor your doctor will be able to decide which group you are in.

If you join group 1, as well as having your usual care, which includes being given support booklets, you will be trained to manage your symptoms. You will also be given a folder with information about how to manage and cope with your symptoms.

You also have 2 training sessions in the self help techniques, from a specialist nurse or physiotherapist. Each session will last an hour. If you would like, the person who helps you with your care at home may also come to these sessions.

You complete a diary so the team can see how helpful you found the training. You fill this out each day for the first 4 weeks of the trial, then once a week for the next 8 weeks. The diary should only take about a minute to complete.

A month after your sessions, your trainer will phone you to see how you are getting on, and if you have further questions.

If you join group 2, you will have your usual care, including the support booklets. When you finish the trial, the team will give you the same folder of information they gave to people in group 1.

Both groups will complete questionnaires before they start the trial and at the end of the first and third months of the trial. The questionnaires will ask about the symptoms you have had and how you have been feeling. They are called quality of life studies. You can fill these out at home and return them to the team in prepaid envelopes. The questionnaires take about 30 minutes to complete.

The team would also like to interview some people from both groups at a later date, to find out more about what they thought of the training and of taking part in the trial.

Hospital visits

You take part in this trial for 3 months. If you are in group 1, you have your training sessions a week apart at either a local hospital, a cancer centre, a suitable place near home or in your own home.

Side effects

The team do not expect you to have any side effects as a result of taking part.

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

Dr Janelle Yorke

Supported by

Marie Curie Cancer Care
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)
University of Manchester

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 10346

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

Wendy took part in a new trial studying the possible side effect of hearing loss

A picture of Wendy

"I was delighted to take part in a clinical trial as it has the potential to really help others in the future.”

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