Understanding the cellular mechanisms sustaining functional capacity improvement with prehabilitation in colorectal cancer patients

Cancer is associated with weight loss, decreased muscle strength and inflammation. This has a tremendous impact on daily activity, autonomy and quality of life, involving both patients and care-givers. I previously worked on a preoperative intervention called ‘pre-habilitation’, a personalized exercise and nutritional supplementation delivered before surgery. The main idea is to prevent postoperative complications utilizing the time before surgery to put the patient in a better physical, nutritional and emotional state.

Surgical prehabilitation of cancer patients undergoing surgical resection. Modalities to mitigate the level of anxiety and depression prior to surgery

There is emerging evidence from studies at the Montreal General Hospital supporting the effect of prehabilitation (also referred to as preoperative conditioning) on postoperative outcomes. Increasing physical fitness and optimizing nutrition in cancer patients before surgery can help patients feel physically stronger, return to their community functions sooner and potentially undergo adjuvant cancer treatment earlier than expected.