Exercise for health: a breast cancer recovery study

The Exercise for health study was a randomised controlled trial addressing how exercise interventions can be delivered in ‘real-world’ contexts, with the greatest possible population reach, and in a manner that assists women to become appropriately active during breast cancer treatment and into longer-term survivorship.

The 8-month, moderate-intensity exercise intervention (aerobic- and resistance-based) was delivered by Exercise Physiologists, either face-to-face or over the telephone, commencing for participants 4 to 6 weeks after their breast cancer surgery. Two modes of delivery are being tested to evaluate the most effective (and cost-effective) mode of delivery, in comparison to usual care, an issue with important implications for translating evidence into practice.

The study has two arms, URBAN and RURAL. The URBAN arm involves women who reside in the greater Brisbane area and who are randomised into one of the two exercise intervention groups or a control ‘usual care’ group, while the RURAL arm includes women from  regional/rural areas of Queensland who are randomised into the telephone intervention group or usual care. All participants were assessed prior to the start of the intervention, mid-way through the intervention (6 months post-surgery) and 3 months following completion of the intervention (12 months post-surgery).  Primary outcomes are feasibility of delivery, quality of life, upper-body function and level of physical activity.


Hayes S, Rye S, DiSipio T, Yates P, Bashford J, Pyke C, Saunders C, Battistutta D, Eakin E (2013) Exercise for Health: a randomized, controlled trial evaluating the impact of a pragmatic, translational exercise intervention on the quality of life, function and treatment-related side effects following breast cancer. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. 137:175-186.

Hayes S, Rye S, Battistuttab D, Yates P, Pyke C, Bashford J, Eakin E (2011). Design and implementation of the Exercise for Health trial – a pragmatic exercise intervention for women with breast cancer. Contemporary Clinical Trials. 32:577-585.

Research Grants

Title of project Chief investigators Funding body Period of funding
Randomised controlled trial of exercise intervention for women with breast cancer Hayes S, Newman B, Yates P, Eakin E, Battistutta D. National Breast Cancer Foundation Project Grant 2006-2008