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The University of Southampton
Public Policy|Southampton

Transforming health policy, guidance and practice around cancer care

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About the research

Our research in Health Sciences has identified the long-term impact of cancer and treatment on people with cancer and has developed and tested new models of supporting patients through treatment and into the long-term.

The ColoREctal Wellbeing (CREW) study (2009-18) followed a large UK community of 1,000 people with colorectal cancer from before treatment to five years later, documenting their experiences, problems and how this affected health and wellbeing outcomes. We found that 30% of people had poor health and well-being up to 5 years later, and that clinical levels of depression and low confidence to self-manage problems before treatment were as important as disease stage in predicting long-term recovery. Those with other conditions limiting daily living had poorer quality of life after cancer diagnosis.

Under the Movember-funded TrueNTH initiative, we developed and evaluated a Supported Self-Management care model (TrueNTH UK, 2014-19) in five NHS hospitals involving 2,500 men with prostate cancer. The model involved patient workshops, support from cancer support workers and patient access to clinical teams via an online portal. We found that the portal was liked by men and was cost-effective, saving on average £39 per patient. Providing real-time access to results meant expensive hospital-based follow-up appointments were no longer needed. Men accessing TrueNTH UK had improved bowel symptoms

We developed and evaluated RESTORE (2010-16), a digital resource designed to increase confidence to manage fatigue after cancer treatment, co-designed with patients, clinicians and Macmillan Cancer Support. Our evaluation of RESTORE found that 77% of users had increased confidence to self-manage fatigue after using the resource.


Impact on Policy

CREW findings significantly contributed to UK prehabilitation guidance for people with cancer published in July 2019. These guidelines help people with cancer manage psychological well-being, nutrition and physical activity before their treatment begins and during treatment. These guidelines have been used in the UK to develop and justify new prehabilitation services.

The TrueNTH UK care model has influenced UK health policy, being highlighted by NHS England and Health Education England as an important clinical practice model:

‘TrueNTH research has made significant contribution to the evidence base that underpins the implementation of stratified follow up nationally’ [NHS England]

Findings from the project were picked up by NICE in the 2019 revised guideline Prostate cancer: diagnosis and management, with the revision of the recommended timeframe for starting supported self-management from two years to six months. Early in 2020, the project was highlighted by NHS Digital as an important model for improving the experiences and outcomes of men with prostate cancer.


Impact on Clinical Practice

Findings from CREW have been used to inform new innovative models of care that are tailored to individual patients according to timely assessments of their needs and confidence to self-manage. These include the introduction of Cancer Support Workers into clinical teams to work with Clinical Nurse Specialists to support the management of patient-identified problems.

The TrueNTH UK care model has been adopted in 38 (25%) NHS Trusts in England, and the Welsh government mandated the implementation of the model in 2019. In Cheshire and Merseyside alone, 38,000 outpatient appointments were saved between 2015 and 2019.

RESTORE has similarly been picked up in clinical practice: in 2020, the Wessex Cancer Alliance cited RESTORE in their five-year plan as an important resource for supported self-management.


Contact Us

The significant impact of our work is down to effective collaborative working with our partners: policy makers, those involved in the coordination, design and delivery of care, charities, and most importantly people affected by cancer. To find out more about our programme, visit:


Professor Claire Foster, Professor Alison Richardson, Dr David Wright and colleagues, Cancer and Life Limiting Conditions Research Group, Health Sciences

Evidence to Policy BlogsMacmillan Survivorship Research Group

Find out more

Policy Projects

Policy Projects

Learn about PPS led current collaborative projects between the University of Southampton researchers and UK Government and Parliament.

Policy Podcasts

Policy Podcasts

Click here to listen to our Policy Podcast series. In each episode we speak to UoS researchers and experts, about their experiences confronting critical issues in the domestic and foreign policies.

Ways to engage

Ways to engage

Guidance on the many channels available to researchers to engage with policymakers.

Impact toolkit

Impact toolkit

Guidance on things to consider in the science to policy process and useful tips in planning and costing your impact activities.

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