Skip to main content

As part of a new Scottish government pilot scheme, cancer patients will now be encouraged to eat healthily and perform exercise before they start their treatment.


Waiting times for treatment are currently at a two year high, and with only 83 per cent of cancer patients starting their urgent treatment within the two month target, the Scottish government is to begin trialing giving patients “prehabilitation” with tailored advice around nutrition, mental health and exercise.

The pre-treatment rehabilitation will be provided at all eight Maggie’s centres across Scotland, thanks to an investment of £270,000 by the Scottish government. The Scottish Health Secretary, Humza Yousaf visited the charity’s Dundee centre where he learned more about the project. Following his visit he said:

“Prehabilitation enables people with cancer to physically and mentally prepare for treatment by adopting healthy behaviours – with the ultimate aim of improving outcomes for them. It can reduce the length of stay in hospital and post-treatment complications, and improve recovery, fitness, nutritional status, neuro-cognitive function and quality of life.

“This pilot scheme will help us understand how the NHS and Third Sector can work together to help people ahead of their cancer treatment.

“With eight centres across Scotland, working with Maggie’s allows us to meet the needs of cancer patients close to home. We want to empower them to get the best possible results from their treatment, and improve their long-term health.

“Cancer treatment has remained a top priority for the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Dame Laura Lee, Maggie’s Chief Executive said:

“We are delighted to be working with the Scottish Government to support people with new cancer diagnoses to understand the benefits of making changes before treatment begins.

“Gentle exercise, eating well and emotional and psychological support are already aspects of the Maggie’s core programme of support – but this usually comes after the patient has started treatment. This new project will ensure newly diagnosed people find support sooner, and will be delivered while working with the NHS as part of their overall care package.”