Feasibility randomised controlled trial of a guided workbook intervention to support work-related goals among cancer survivors in the UK

Elizabeth Grunfeld, Lauren Schumacher, Maria Armaou, Pernille Woods, Pauline Rolf, Andrew Sutton, Anjali Zarkar, Steven Sadhra

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4 Citations (Scopus)
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Objectives Employment following illness is associated with better physical and psychological functioning. This study aimed to assess the feasibility and acceptability of a theoretically led workbook intervention designed to support patients with cancer returning to work. Design Parallel-group randomised controlled trial with embedded qualitative interviews. Setting Oncology clinics within four English National Health Service Trusts. Participants Patients who had received a diagnosis of breast, gynaecological, prostate or colorectal cancer and who had been receiving treatment for a minimum of two weeks. Intervention A self-guided WorkPlan workbook designed to support patients with cancer to return to work with fortnightly telephone support calls to discuss progress. The control group received treatment as usual and was offered the workbook at the end of their 12-month follow-up. Outcome measures We assessed aspects of feasibility including eligibility, recruitment, data collection, attrition, feasibility of the methodology, acceptability of the intervention and potential to calculate cost-effectiveness. Results The recruitment rate of eligible patients was 44%; 68 participants consented and 58 (85%) completed baseline measures. Randomisation procedures were acceptable, data collection methods (including cost-effectiveness data) were feasible and the intervention was acceptable to participants. Retention rates at 6-month and 12-month follow-up were 72% and 69%, respectively. At 6-month follow-up, 30% of the usual care group had returned to full-time or part-time work (including phased return to work) compared with 43% of the intervention group. At 12 months, the percentages were 47% (usual care) and 68% (intervention). Conclusions The findings confirm the feasibility of a definitive trial, although further consideration needs to be given to increasing the participation rates among men and black and ethnic minority patients diagnosed with cancer.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere022746
Number of pages10
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2019


  • cancer
  • employment
  • feasibility
  • intervention
  • randomised controlled trial


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