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FITNESS AND
ITS IMPACT ON
BREAST CANCER
TREATMENT

FITNESS AND ITS IMPACT ON BREAST CANCER TREATMENT

Increased physical activity can improve health outcomes after a breast cancer diagnosis. Associate Professor Brigid Lynch orchestrated a groundbreaking breast cancer trial, named ACTIVity And TEchnology (ACTIVATE) Trial to study whether a wearable fitness tracker can increase physical activity in women who have completed breast cancer treatment.

The trial tracked the physical activity of a group of women over a 12-week period. Half of the women were given a fitness tracker and were provided with fitness advice and training, while the others were not.

The results showed that the combination of the wearable fitness tracker and the coaching led to an increase in physical activity of over an hour per week. In addition, the women who wore the trackers also sat for 37 minutes less per day.

Off the back of the trial, future research will investigate whether the use of the fitness trackers can promote more active lifestyles that could lead to long-term benefits for those who were treated for breast cancer.

“We know that for breast cancer survivors, regular participation in moderate-vigorous physical activity is associated with diminished treatment side-effects, enhanced quality of life, and may reduce risk of cancer recurrence and death. Despite these benefits, many breast cancer survivors do not achieve the physical activity recommendations of 150 minutes of moderate-vigorous physical activity per week,” said Associate Professor Brigid Lynch.

“Given their low cost and wide reach, fitness devices are ideal tools for health promotion programs. This is particularly important for survivors who live in rural or regional areas where their access to supervised exercise is limited by geographic reach, availability of facilities, appropriately qualified professionals and cost.”

Moderate-vigorous physical activity is associated with diminished treatment side-effects, enhanced quality of life, and may reduce risk of cancer recurrence and save lives.


Associate Professor Brigid Lynch,
NBCF-funded researcher

MEET TARA

Tara was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC) breast cancer in 2017. The Sydney-local had surgery and radiation as part of her treatment and was later given the ‘all-clear’. While undergoing treatment, Tara kept active through walking. She says it provided a necessary distraction for her.

“During treatment I was very low on energy but I tried to walk to and from the hospital most days for treatment, not only to get some exercise but as a distraction,” says Tara.

“I think it helped me as I enjoy exercising so even though it wasn’t as strenuous as my usual exercise, I was still able to do something.”

Tara recently took part in Sydney’s City2Surf to raise funds for game-changing research for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.