We asked SCPN friends and advisors to tell us about a report/paper/findings/work on cancer screening and prevention that has been published this year and has made them stop and think. The works span a wide range of areas from very detailed scientific investigation, reviews of physical activities, and blogs of model work. We find them a complete inspiration. When only 3% of the NCRI research budget is spent on prevention and virtually nil on implementation research; these papers provide a window on some of the very good reasons why cancer screening and prevention should be a leading part of cancer control research.


Ann Gates is the founder of Exercise Works. With over 30 years experience as a healthcare professional, Ann is on a mission to get everyone accessing and enjoying exercise. Ann describes herself as a philanthropist, pharmacist, exercise advocate, author, speaker, social media ‘passionista’, and a disruptive innovator!  We are delighted to share Ann’s nomination for ‘Paper of the Year 2017’ with you.

Ann’s nominated paper of the year is: Mustian, K. M., Alfano, C. M., Heckler, C. et al. (2017) ‘Comparison of Pharmaceutical, Psychological, and Exercise Treatments for Cancer-Related Fatigue: A Meta-analysis.’ JAMA Oncology, 3(7): 961–968

Ann chose this paper because…

“Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) remains one of the most prevalent and troublesome adverse events experienced by patients with cancer during and after therapy.  The question the authors asked was: which of the 4 most commonly recommended treatments for cancer-related-fatigue—exercise, psychological, the combination of exercise and psychological, and pharmaceutical—is the most effective?

This meta-analysis of 113 unique studies (11, 525 unique participants) found that exercise and psychological interventions and the combination of both reduce cancer-related fatigue during and after cancer treatment. Reduction was not due to time, attention, or education. In contrast, pharmaceutical interventions do not improve cancer-related fatigue to the same magnitude.

These findings provide the basis for making sure every NHS contact counts in cancer care regarding this debilitating symptom. What is particularly interesting is that the findings clearly demonstrate that “clinicians should prescribe exercise and/or psychological interventions as first-line treatments for cancer-related fatigue”.

If there is one intervention that we should all embrace is helping every cancer patient to access physical activity advice and support, within their abilities, during and after, cancer therapies. Let’s make this happen for 2018 and beyond!

Read the paper here: https://thescpn.org/2iWXu0T

If you experience any difficulties accessing the paper, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at scpn@cancerpreventionscotland.org.uk