Thanks to advances in prevention, early detection strategies and novel therapies, cancer survival rates have increased dramatically. Even though this is highly encouraging, it highlights the need to create high quality survivorship care plans, since many cancer survivors often face a new reality once treatment is over.
The aim of this project is to design a screener (Life S-Can) which can effectively assess dietary patterns, lifestyle, sleeping habits, mental health and social support in cancer survivors, with the hope that it can be implemented into routine clinical care to assess patients’ needs and be a first step in designing a personalised and effective follow-up care plan. – Dr Alice Chaplin
The rate of cancer survivorship is increasing, creating a need for high-quality survivorship care plans. Often, follow-up of cancer survivors does not fully address behavioural and psychosocial elements that could improve quality of life and decrease risk of recurrence. This may be due to the lack of short, validated screeners to assess diet, lifestyle and other behaviours that may influence quality of life and health-related outcomes in cancer survivors.
To design and validate a screener, the researchers divided the project into 3 phases, all of which will be carried out at the University Hospital Son Espases in Palma, Spain.
The first phase will consist of designing the screener (Life S-Can) in English with an international, multidisciplinary panel of experts in cancer, nutrition, epidemiology, primary care, psychology and psychometry. This first version will be piloted in a small convenience sample to determine comprehension, clarity and usefulness.
In Phase II, Life S-Can will be validated in a sample of 100 cancer survivors. A research dietitian will administer Life S-Can and collect data using validated assessment methods (using validated questionnaires and objective measurements) to compare with the data obtained with the Life S-Can screener.
Phase III will consist of a qualitative study conducted in cancer patients and health professionals to obtain data to design a complex intervention to test the feasibility and effectiveness of implementing Life S-Can in a clinical setting.
Life S-Can will enable clinicians, health practitioners, charities and other stakeholders to rapidly, accurately and effectively assess nutritional factors, lifestyle, sleep quality and psychosocial distress in cancer survivors and will be useful to identify individuals who may need further care and support.
Create a valid and rapid tool (Life S-Can) to evaluate a total of 7 domains:
in cancer survivors for its use in a clinical setting to improve survivorship care and quality of life.
Life S-Can can be a useful tool in standard patient care to enable clinicians, health practitioners, charities and other stakeholders, to pro-actively screen, detect behaviours and challenges of survivors and refer patients to adequate health and mental care teams and resources.
This will benefit cancer survivors, as often, due to time constraints, health professionals may not assess certain aspects relevant to cancer survivors’ quality of life, such as nutritional status, diet, physical and mental health, adequately.