Bridging the gap: incorporating exercise evidence into clinical practice in breast cancer care



To determine the feasibility (recruitment, retention, and adherence rates) of implementing a multi-dimensional knowledge translation (KT) intervention designed for women with breast cancer, and to explore preliminary estimates of effects of the implementation strategy on exercise level, exercise knowledge and behavior, health-related quality of life, and overall health status among breast cancer survivors.


Design: Implementation Trial. Participants: Community-dwelling women, over 18 years of age, currently undergoing chemotherapy for stage 1–3 BRCA. Randomization and Blinding: A blinded researcher randomized participants on a record-by-record basis to the intervention or control group. A researcher blinded to the group allocation of the participants conducted the statistical analysis. Intervention Group: Eight sessions of moderate intensity aerobic exercise along with eight self-management modules were delivered during chemotherapy within the cancer institution. Control Group: Usual care. Primary Outcome: Feasibility of implementation strategy measured through recruitment, retention, and adherence rates.


Twenty-nine women were screened for this study. Twenty-seven met inclusion criteria and twenty-six participants were enrolled in the study. The implementation strategy was determined to be feasible and had a recruitment rate of 96%, retention rate of 100%, and adherence rate of 89%. The intervention group had significantly higher exercise levels (mean difference = 25.38, 95%CI = (9.35, 41.42)) post-intervention compared with the control group. No adverse events were reported.


The implementation of this KT intervention is feasible and demonstrates preliminary effects for secondary outcomes for women with breast cancer during chemotherapy. Findings support the implementation of this intervention in a multi-center trial.

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We would like to thank Dr. L. Bordeleau, Dr. S. Mukherjee, Dr. O. Levine, and K. Ward for their help with recruitment for this study.


Jenna Smith-Turchyn was funded by the Vanier Canadian Graduate Scholarship for the duration of this project. The Hamilton Division of the Ontario Physiotherapy Association (OPA) provided funding for this study. The OPA had no role in the design of the study, collection, analysis, or interpretation of data.

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Correspondence to Jenna Smith-Turchyn.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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The authors declare they have no conflict of interest.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Smith-Turchyn, J., Richardson, J., Tozer, R. et al. Bridging the gap: incorporating exercise evidence into clinical practice in breast cancer care. Support Care Cancer 28, 897–905 (2020) doi:10.1007/s00520-019-04897-9

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  • Breast cancer
  • Exercise
  • Self-management
  • Knowledge translation
  • Implementation