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

Cancer type:

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





This trial taught techniques to people with cancer affecting the lungs. It was to help them manage:

  • breathlessness
  • coughs
  • tiredness (fatigue)

You might have one or more of these symptoms, if you have lung cancer or another type of cancer that has spread to your lungs.

More about this trial

To help manage your symptoms, you might have:

  • oxygen
  • cough medicine
  • steroids
  • medication to relax your airways

You might also see a physiotherapist Open a glossary itemand an occupational therapist. Open a glossary item

After talking to other patients and their carers, researchers in this trial developed techniques that people could do themselves to help improve their symptoms. The techniques included learning:

  • a type of deep controlled breathing
  • how to ease coughing
  • how to massage or press certain points on the body (acupressure) to calm symptoms

They hoped to test these techniques in a large group of people, but first they needed to run a small pilot (feasibility) study to see if people would find the techniques acceptable.

Everyone had the usual care they would have for these symptoms and some were also trained in the self help measures.

The aim of this trial was to find out if it would be possible to run a larger trial using these techniques.

Summary of results

The trial team found that people thought the techniques were acceptable and useful.

107 people took part. They were put into 1 of 2 groups at random.

  • 54 people had usual care - this is called the control group
  • 53 people had usual care, support booklets and training sessions in the self help techniques to manage symptoms – this is called the intervention group

The people who had the training completed a diary rating their symptoms and how often they used the techniques. They filled this in:

  • each day for the first month
  • then once a week for the next 2 months

A member of the trial team contacted them 1 month after the sessions to see how they were getting on.

3 months after the trial started, the trial team looked at all the feedback to see how useful the techniques were. Most people in the intervention group said they practised them every day.

The trial team concluded that it was possible to do a larger trial. They hope to get enough people to join to see how well the techniques work compared with usual care.

We have based this summary on information from the research team. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) and published in a medical journal. The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team who did the research. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

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 Janelle Yorke

Supported by

NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
University of Manchester
Marie Curie Cancer Care

If you have questions about the trial please contact our cancer information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:


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.”

Last reviewed:

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