Women who undergo chemotherapy for breast cancer can develop severe cognitive deficits, peripheral neuropathies, and cardiovascular complications. Exercise, especially when performed at a higher intensity, has been shown to prevent or mitigate these toxic effects in other clinical populations. However, this is yet to be systematically determined in women with breast cancer commencing chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy-naïve breast cancer patients will be randomised to complete either a 12-week combined aerobic and resistance training intervention, or usual care, during their first 12 weeks of chemotherapy. Assessments of cognitive function, peripheral neuropathy development, and cardiovascular health will be assessed before, during and after the intervention period.

Focus groups including breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, oncologists, cancer nurses, and physiotherapists will be held at the commencement and completion of the recruitment period. These focus group discussions will enable the identification of strategies to implement the exercise intervention into standard chemotherapy care for breast cancer patients.

Funding body: Queensland Government Department of Health, Nursing and Midwifery Research Fellowship.

Project members

The University of Queensland researchers involved in this project are:

Associate Professor Tina Skinner

Associate Professor & Adjunct Associate Professor
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences

Professor Jeff Coombes

Professor & Director
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences

Dr Tom Bailey

Adjunct Senior Fellow
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences
Honorary Senior Fellow
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work