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The Impact of Prehabilitation on Recovering from Colorectal Cancer Surgery


Clinical trial shows that a 4-week prep program leads to better outcomes for colorectal cancer surgery patients

Colorectal cancer surgery can be challenging, impacting a patient's health and recovery. However, a clinical trial called PREHAB explored whether a special 4-week preparation program could help patients better recover from this type of surgery.

Clinical trial

The PREHAB trial involved adults with colorectal cancer who were getting ready for surgery. Researchers compared two groups: one that went through a 4-week program before surgery and another that received regular care. The special program included exercises three times a week, nutritional help, psychological support, and guidance to quit smoking if needed.


Among the participants, those who did the preparation program had significantly fewer serious problems after surgery compared to those who received regular care. For instance, about 17% of those in the program group had severe complications after surgery, while about 30% of those in the regular care group had similar issues. Moreover, fewer people in the preparation program group had medical problems like breathing difficulties after surgery—around 15% compared to 27% in the regular care group.

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This trial offers options for patients undergoing colorectal cancer surgery. The findings suggest that a focused 4-week program before surgery may reduce risks and help patients recover more smoothly afterward. Although the ability to walk for six minutes didn't show a big difference between the two groups after surgery, other measures of being able to do daily tasks were better in the preparation program group.

For people preparing for colorectal cancer surgery, this trial shows that doing a tailored preparation program might improve their surgery experience. This program, which includes exercises, nutrition guidance, psychological help, and advice on lifestyle changes, seemed to lower risks and improve the recovery process.


The results of the PREHAB trial underline the benefits of a structured preparation program before colorectal cancer surgery. These findings highlight the importance of incorporating such programs into the standard care given to patients. This approach could be key in reducing complications after surgery and helping patients recover better, ultimately enhancing the overall experience for those facing colorectal cancer surgery.


JAMA Network, Mar-29-23
Netherlands Trial Register, NTR5947

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This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. CenTrial Data Ltd. does not take responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. Treatments and clinical trials mentioned may not be appropriate or available for all trial participants. Outcomes from treatments and clinical trials may vary from person to person. Consult with your doctor as to whether a clinical trial is a suitable option for your condition. Assistance from generative AI tools may have been used in writing this article.