Breast cancer survivor encourages women to sign up for fitness band study on physical activity

Wednesday 25 January, 2017

Researchers at Cancer Council Victoria are investigating how effective fitness bands can be in improving the physical activity habits of breast cancer survivors following treatment in a new study, the ACTIVATE Trial.

New Australian research shows that only 16% of breast cancer survivors meet physical activity guidelines.1 In addition, data suggest that breast cancer survivors sit for over 8 hours a day,1 which may contribute to additional health problems.

Sharon Thompson, ACTIVATE Trial participantAfter being diagnosed with stage I breast cancer a month after her 50th birthday, Sharon Thompson found it hard to regain the fitness levels she used to have. "The cancer treatment took a lot out of me - chemotherapy left me feeling fatigued and it was really hard to motivate myself to do exercise."

A few months ago, Sharon joined the ACTIVATE Trial. "I joined the trial because I felt like my fitness had hit a brick wall and I knew that staying fit and healthy was an important part of my recovery," she says. "The fitness bands are great because it provides simple and personalised information with realistic exercise goals which keep me motivated.

"My goal in life is to be as fit as possible and ensure my health is as good as it can be and the ACTIVATE Trial has helped enormously", she said.

Dr Brigid Lynch, a cancer epidemiologist at Cancer Council Victoria, hopes that fitness bands will help breast cancer survivors become more active and sit less.

"We know that women who exercise regularly after a breast cancer diagnosis have better health outcomes, including higher rates of survival. Unfortunately, few breast cancer survivors do enough activity to achieve these benefits," she said.

"Our research will test whether using fitness bands help survivors to become more active."

Dr Lynch is looking for women to take part in the ACTIVATE Trial. Participants will receive a free Garmin vívofit® 2 which they will be asked to wear for 12 weeks. Women over 50 years old and diagnosed with Stage I - III breast cancer within the past 5 years who have completed their primary treatment may be eligible to take part.

If you are interested in taking part in the ACTIVATE Trial, please contact Dr Brigid Lynch at Cancer Council Victoria on (03) 9514 6209 or email brigid.lynch@cancervic.org.au

1. Boyle T, Vallance JK, Ransom E, Lynch BM. How sedentary and physically active are breast cancer survivors and which population subgroups have higher or lower levels of these behaviours. Supportive Care in Cancer. In press (31/10/2015)

Updated: 25 Jan, 2017