A study looking at adding enhanced Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to standard care for people living with and beyond cancer (SURECAN)

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

Cancer type:

All cancer types





This study is looking at specialist one-to-one talking therapy to improve people’s quality of life after cancer treatment.

SURECAN stands for SUrvivors' Rehabilitation Evaluation after CANcer.

More about this trial

Researchers are looking at better ways to help people cope with the emotional, psychological and physical effects of living with and beyond cancer. They are keen to improve people’s quality of life Open a glossary item.    

This study is for people who have completed cancer treatment and have no sign of cancer on scans or tests. The study team are looking at using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) alongside the standard NHS care you would have when you finish cancer treatment.

ACT is a type of specialist one-to-one talking therapy. It involves putting what is most important to you at the centre of your therapy, to try and improve your quality of life. You will also have the option of exercise and work support (ACT+) if this is important to you. You and your therapist will find this out together.

The aim of this study is to see if ACT or ACT+ helps people more than just standard after cancer care. It’s a quality of life study.

Who can enter

The following bullet points are a summary of the entry conditions for this study. Talk to your doctor or the study team if you are unsure about any of these. They will be able to advise you. 

Who can take part

You may be able to join this study if you have been diagnosed with one of the following:

You might be able to take part if you have another cancer that treatment usually works well for. Your doctor can explain more.

As well as the above, all the following must apply. You:

  • have finished treatment for your cancer within the last 2 years or you are just about to finish treatment. You might be able to take part if you are having long term treatment to keep your cancer under control (maintenance), such as hormone therapy for prostate cancer.
  • had treatment which aimed to get rid of your cancer completely
  • have had an assessment looking at quality of life called the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy – General (FACT- G), and your score is 78 or less. The study team can tell you more about this.
  • can speak and understand English well enough to take part in therapy with a therapist who speaks English
  • are at least 18 years old

Who can’t take part

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

  • are not able to give informed consent Open a glossary item
  • are getting palliative care Open a glossary item or end of life care
  • are getting any other psychological care at the moment. You can still take part if you are taking medication to help with depression or anxiety.
  • have any other serious condition that could make it hard for you to have one-to-one sessions with your therapist
  • need urgent mental health support from a specialist doctor, or other specialist mental health professional

Trial design

Finding out if you can take part
First of all, your team would like to find out if the study is appropriate for you. To do this, they ask you 3 short questions to see what your quality of life is like after your cancer treatment.

If they think you might be able to take part, a researcher will call you and carry out a quality of life (FACT-G) questionnaire. This takes around 10 minutes, and you can ask the researcher any questions you have about the study. If you have already completed this questionnaire in clinic, the study team look at your answers to see if you are able to take part. 

You then fill in a more detailed questionnaire about your health and well-being at home. This can take up to 30 minutes. You have up to 2 weeks to send this back to the study team. The team look over the results. You won’t be able to take part in the study if your health has improved from when you were first contacted. This is because you are feeling better on your own. The team will write to you and let you know if this is the case.

The study
The researchers would like 344 people to take part. You are put into groups by a computer. Neither you nor your doctor will be able to decide which group you are in.

You have 1 of the following:

  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT/ACT+) and standard care (group 1)
  • standard care (group 2)

At the end of the study, the researchers look at the difference in quality of life between people in group 1 and group 2.

Group 1
You have up to 8 one-to-one sessions with your therapist, starting 2 weeks after randomisation Open a glossary item. You can have these over the phone or video call. You usually have a session every week, or every 2 weeks. Each session takes around an hour and you have some exercises to do at home before the next session.

ACT involves talking about how cancer has affected your:

  • physical life
  • emotional life
  • work

You talk about how this makes you feel and if there are ways of doing things that can help.

Your therapist can let you know about other organisations that can help you further if you need it.

The researchers would like to voice record your sessions. This is to see if the one-to-one sessions were given by the therapist as agreed. The recording will not be heard by anyone other than the study team.

Group 2
You are still part of the study, even if you are not having ACT. You continue to be looked after by any follow up services at your hospital. Or your GP will take over your care. Ask them for help if you are struggling at any point and need more support.

People in both groups fill in the same questionnaire about health and well-being after they start taking part. You are asked to do this again at around:

  • 7 weeks
  • 4 months
  • 1 year

You might have a questionnaire at the 2 year point, depending on when you joined the study. 

Tell the team if you are struggling with filling in the questionnaires. They can help.

The study ends after 2 years.

Hospital visits

Your first appointment to ask 3 short questions, will be in clinic at hospital, or over the phone.

Side effects

You are not expected to have any negative side effects 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 Stephanie Taylor
Professor Trudie Chalder

Supported by

Kings College London
Oxford Brookes University
Queen Mary University of London
Sheffield Hallam University
University College London
University of Westminster

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.

Last reviewed:

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