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Using qualitative and co-design methods to inform the development of an intervention to support and improve physical activity in childhood cancer survivors: a study protocol for BEing Active after ChildhOod caNcer (BEACON)
  1. Morven C Brown1,2,
  2. Vera Araújo-Soares1,2,
  3. Roderick Skinner1,3,
  4. Adam W Glaser4,5,
  5. Naseem Sarwar5,
  6. John M Saxton6,
  7. Kyle Montague7,
  8. Jamie Hall8,
  9. Olivia Burns8,
  10. Linda Sharp1,2
  1. 1Newcastle University Centre for Cancer, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  2. 2Population Health Sciences Institute, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  3. 3Department of Paediatric and Adolescent Haematology and Oncology, Great North Children’s Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  4. 4Leeds Institute of Medical Research, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
  5. 5Department of Paediatric Oncology, Leeds Children’s Hospital, Leeds, UK
  6. 6Department of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  7. 7OpenLab, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  8. 8Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Linda Sharp;{at}


Introduction Childhood cancer survivors (CCSs) treated with cardiotoxic cancer treatments are at increased risk of developing cardiometabolic complications. This risk is further exacerbated by poor health behaviours. In particular, CCSs are less active than non-cancer comparators. Existing interventions aiming to improve physical activity (PA) levels in CCSs are methodologically weak. The aim of this study is to rigorously and systematically develop an evidence-based and theoretically-informed intervention to promote, support, improve and sustain PA levels in CCSs, with the long-term goal of reducing CCSs’ cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.

Methods and analysis The BEing Active after ChildhOod caNcer (BEACON) study involves two workpackages at two National Health Service sites in England, UK.

Participants will be CCSs and their parents, and healthcare professionals (HCPs) involved in their care.

Workpackage one (WP1) will use qualitative methods to explore and understand the barriers and facilitators to PA in CCSs. Two sets of semistructured interviews will be conducted with (1) CCSs (aged 10–24 years) and (2) parents of CCSs. WP2 will use co-design methods to bring together stakeholders (CCSs; their parents; HCPs; researchers) to develop a prototype intervention. Where possible, all data will be audio recorded and transcribed.

Data from WP1 will be analysed using a thematic approach. Analysis of WP2 data will involve content analysis, and analysis of formative output and procedures.

Ethics and dissemination The study was approved by North East-Tyne & Wear South Research Ethics Committee (REC ref: 18/NE/0274). Research findings will be disseminated primarily via national and international conferences and publication in peer-reviewed journals. Patient and public involvement will inform further dissemination activities.

  • protocols & guidelines
  • paediatric oncology
  • qualitative research

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  • Contributors MB, LS, RS and VA-S conceived the study. MB, LS, RS, VA-S, NS and AG developed the grant proposal and secured funding. MB managed the ethical and research approvals and will undertake the field work and data analysis supported primarily by LS and VA-S. RS, AG and NS will support recruitment of participants. JH and OB have, and will continue to, provide PPI input. JS and KM will provide specialist advice and expertise throughout the study. MB drafted the manuscript, and AG, JS, LS, RS, KM, NS, VA-S provided revisions and comments. All authors approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding This work is supported by Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group grant number CCLGA 2017 26, North of England Children’s Cancer Research and the Children’s Cancer Fund.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research. Refer to the Methods section for further details.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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