A new online programme called REFRESH (Recovery from Cancer-Related Fatigue) has been developed at NUI Galway to help people learn how to better manage fatigue symptoms following cancer treatment. The programme was developed as part of four years of research into cancer-related fatigue by Cancer Care West and Hardiman Scholar, Teresa Corbett who launched the programme with Cancer Care West CEO, Richard Flaherty recently.
Over the last three years, Ms Corbett has met with individuals who have persistent and lingering fatigue after cancer. Fatigue is one of the most debilitating and frustrating symptoms patients endure following cancer treatment. For some, these symptoms can last for months or even years after treatment. This can have an emotional and functional impact on peoples’ lives and such overwhelming fatigue can hold people back from resuming ‘normal life’ after cancer.
The REFRESH trial will provide eight free online treatment sessions to people in the comfort of their own home. The content is based on the principles of cognitive-behavioural therapy, a psychological therapy that has proven to be effective in the management of symptoms such as fatigue. The online sessions will focus on what people do and think in response to their fatigue symptoms. Participants will be provided with instructions on a range of activity-pacing techniques to encourage more consistent levels of activity from day-to-day. Useful relaxation techniques and how to sleep better will also be provided.
Teresa Corbett, co-ordinator of the study at NUI Galway, said: “I have met so many people who are fatigued after cancer treatment. Often they feel frustrated and confused about their symptoms. Programmes like this can be beneficial. Unfortunately, people often feel that they do not get the support they need to re-adjust to life after cancer. We want to help people to learn skills to enable them to move on with their lives. In this trial, we will offer our programme to adults who have completed anti-cancer treatment for any type of cancer.”
Ms Corbett added, “We are very keen to keep this online study personal, so that people know there is a supportive team behind it. Online programmes can allow many people to access high quality care from their own home, but we know how important it is to have human contact too.”
The study is open to people throughout Ireland and will take place over the coming months. General Practioners and cancer support networks around the country are encouraged to get in touch and refer suitable people with fatigue to the study.
Author: Marketing and Communications Office, NUI Galway