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Cancer Prevention Graduate School

Testing the effectiveness of a social prescription and virtual patient information in increasing tertiary prevention among cancer patients


Deutsche Krebshilfe

Principal Investigators

Prof. Dr. Anne Herrmann-Johns (Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine – Medical Sociology), Prof. Dr. Dr. Michael Leitzmann (Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine), Prof. Dr. Michael Koller (Center for Clinical Studies, University Hospital Regensburg), Prof. Dr. Tobias Pukrop (Cancer Comprehensive Center WERA, University Hospital Regensburg)


Tertiary prevention through physical activity and psychosocial support can improve a number of outcomes for cancer patients, including improved overall quality of life, lower risk of cancer recurrence and improved cancer survival. However, adoption rates of programmes designed to increase tertiary prevention among cancer patients remain low. A number of strategies have been developed to increase preventive health behaviour, including social prescriptions, which provide individualised care plans to refer patients to nonclinical services to enhance patients' physical and mental health. However, further evidence is required on which strategies are most effective in increasing preventive health behaviour of cancer patients and should thus be used in clinical practice. Also, support persons have been shown to facilitate patients' engagement in preventive health behavior but their role in helping cancer patients become physically active and seek further supportive care remains understudied. Support persons often suffer themselves from low quality of life and require additional support to address their owns needs and concerns. This project will use a multidisciplinary approach to test the effectiveness of a social prescription and virtual patient information in increasing the uptake of physical activity and participation in social activities and psychosocial support among cancer patients and support persons. It will further establish whether the interventions can improve patients' and support persons' outcomes. Cost-effectiveness and implementation barriers and enablers of the interventions will also be explored to help translate evidence into practice. Thus, this project will employ innovative methodology using an effectiveness-implementation hybrid design and a mixed-methods approach to identify effective strategies and assess which strategies could be best used in routine cancer care. These strategies could be made accessible, sustainably integrated into practice functioning and thus allow for widespread adoption to help provide optimal cancer care and enhance an active lifestyle among cancer patients and their support persons.

  1. Fakultät für Medizin