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Advances in diagnosis and the treatment for upper gastro-intestinal (UGI) cancers have led to improved survival rates and, consequently, to a larger population of survivors of many types of UGI cancer [1,2]. Progress in survivorship care for UGI cancer remains poor, and many survivors experience ongoing negative physical and psychosocial impacts of treatment, which can have profound and long-term impacts on physical function and quality of life (QOL) [3,4]. At one year post-op, 40% of survivors report poor physical function, and significant reductions in walking distance, cardiorespiratory fitness and muscle strength are observed, along with a high prevalence of fatigue (41%), sarcopenia (35%) and dyspnoea (20%) [5–7]. Nutritional compromise in UGI cancer survivors is frequently reported, with eating restrictions are observed in 49% at 1 year post-surgery and malabsorption in 73% at two years post-op [6,8]. This can lead to significant reductions in fat-free body mass and skeletal muscle [8]. From a psychosocial perspective, anxiety (36%), fear of recurrence (29%) and high rates of sleep difficulties (51%) are reported. An integrated, multi-disciplinary specialist rehabilitation approach focusing on patient-centred outcomes is indicated to address the substantial, complex, multi-dimensional rehabilitation needs of UGI cancer survivors and to enable them to achieve the best possible quality of life and to reintegrate into family, social and working life [9–12].



This research was funded by the Health Research Board (HRB) Ireland Definitive Intervention and Feasibility Award (DIFA-2018-009). The HRB have no direct role in the design, conduct, or analysis of this trial.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.