Exercise Oncology Lab

 

The Exercise Oncology Lab (EOL) is dedicated exclusively on developing, assessing, and evaluating exercise studies in cancer survivors. It is a multi-purpose laboratory allowing the space to be transformed for a variety of intervention modalities (e.g., distance-based, supervised), and physical function and exercise testing.

Mission: to promote physical activity as an essential component in cancer control and survivorship.

We focus on a variety of research questions including:

  • Can exercise help manage treatment-related side effects?
  • What is the role of exercise for cognitive functioning?
  • What is the optimal exercise program for benefits?
  • How do we maintain exercise levels throughout the cancer care continuum?
     

Exercise Oncology Laboratory people

Current Studies

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the feasibility of delivering a supervised PA program plus standard exercise counseling (SPA+EC) versus a supervised physical activity plus motivationally-enhanced behavioral counseling (SPA+BC) in prostate cancer survivors. This study will pilot a two-armed, single blind, randomized controlled trial (RCT) comparing SPA+EC to SPA+BC. The goal of both arms of the intervention is to gradually increase PA to a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity per week. Prostate cancer survivors in both arms will be provided with 12 individual supervised PA sessions over a 6-week period with a physical activity specialist that tapers to an unsupervised home-based program for 6 weeks after the intervention. The supervised sessions will include both aerobic physical activity and resistance training. Following these sessions, the SPA+EC will receive standard exercise counseling, while the SPA+BC group will receive behavioral counseling sessions based on behavior change techniques with a physical activity specialist. The primary outcome will be objectively-assessed physical activity.

The primary objective of this study is to explore and identify the interest and preferences of exercise counseling and programming among survivors of liver cancer. The secondary aim is to investigate the prevalence of physical activity levels in liver cancer survivors. This research will inform future physical activity interventions by providing information on specific ways to tailor physical activity programs to this populations’ preferences. This may improve recruitment and adherence to physical activity so that liver cancer survivors may accrue health benefits from exercise.

Accelerometers have been established as a valid measure of overall or lifestyle physical activity in cancer survivors, including breast cancer survivors. To date, researchers have not examined the validity of accelerometer count ranges or cut-points associated with different intensities or metabolic equivalents of physical activity in cancer survivors. The proposed research involves the following: a) examination of accelerometer cut-points that define light, moderate, and vigorous intensity physical activity in breast cancer survivors; b) investigation of possible differences in cut-points between breast cancer survivors and an apparently healthy age-matched control sample; c) examination of the accuracy of both accelerometers and inclinometers in various sedentary behaviors such as sitting, lying, and standing in this population; and d) validation of devices to assess sedentary behavior and physical activity in free-living conditions.

This study has been completed and enrollment is currently closed.

Facilities

The EOL is dedicated exclusively to developing, assessing, and evaluating exercise studies in cancer survivors. It is a multi-purpose laboratory allowing the space to be transformed for data collection, intervention delivery (e.g., behavioral counseling and stretching/toning), and physical function and exercise testing. It houses a variety of the latest exercise equipment including Gymsticks,TM  free weights, exercise balls, and exercise mats. Separate stations for assessing individual functional performance measures employed in the Senior Fitness Test. OtThe EOL is equipped with objective measures of physical activity and sedentary behavior including Actigraph accelerometers (Model # GT3X+), ActivPAL inclinometers, and Yamax Digiwalker pedometers. In addition, the EOL has access to fully integrated Trackmaster treadmills, digital Cardio Control EKG systems, and True One 2400 metabolic measurement systems for graded exercise testing.

News & Events

Denise Bastas (undergraduate student) presents her research presentation on ‘Physical Activity Attitudes and Counselling Practices in Oncology Healthcare Providers Working with Kidney Cancer Survivors’ at the Eastern Canada Sport and Exercise Psychology Symposium Annual Meeting in March 2019 in Vaughan, Ontario.

Denise ESCEPS  research presentation

Alexis Whitehorn (MSc. candidate) presents her research poster on ‘Motivational Outcomes of a Community-Based Program to Increase Physical Activity in Breast Cancer Survivors’ at the Society of Behavioral Medicine's 40th Annual Meeting in March 2019 in Washington, D.C. 

Alexis SBM research poster

Ally Tabaczynski (MSc. candidate) presents her research poster on ‘Demographic, Medical, Social-cognitive, and Environmental Correlates of Meeting Strength Training Guidelines in Kidney Cancer Survivors’ at the Canadian Society for Psychomotor Learning and Sport Psychology Annual Conference in October 2018 in Toronto, Ontario.

Ally Scapps research poster

Ally Tabaczynski (MSc. candidate) presents her research poster on ‘Reallocation of Time Spent in Sleep, Activity and Sedentary Behaviour: Associations on Quality of Life in Kidney Cancer Survivors’ at the Society of Behavioral Medicine's 39th Annual Meeting in April in New Orleans, LA.

Ally SBM research poster

Resources for Cancer Survivors

These resources may be helpful if you are a cancer survivor and/or caregiver. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle through exercise and good nutrition is an important step in the journey to recovery.

Get Active, Sit Less! Exercise Guidebook for Kidney Cancer Survivors© in PDF format. This guide book is designed to help kidney cancer survivors increase their physical activity and reduce their sitting time. Download document with this link: Kidney Cancer Guidebook (English) or Kidney Cancer Guidebook (French)

Researchers and practitioners wishing to use this guidebook for research or practice-related purposes, please contact Dr. Linda Trinh: linda.trinh@utoronto.ca

There is no need to contact Dr. Trinh if you are downloading the book for your personal use.

Join

Graduate students

The EOL is currently recruiting highly motivated graduate students at the MSc and PhD level. Please contact Dr. Linda Trinh (linda.trinh@utoronto.ca) with a CV and cover letter outlining your research interests in exercise oncology.

 

Undergraduate students

If you are interested in a research experience with the EOL, please contact Dr. Linda Trinh (linda.trinh@utoronto.ca) with a resume and brief paragraph outlining your interest in exercise and cancer.

Want to hear about a day in the life at the EOL? Read an excerpt by one of the undergraduate students in our lab here.  

Contact Us

The Exercise Oncology Laboratory (EOL) is located in the Clara Benson Building at the University of Toronto.

55 Harbord Street, Toronto ON

M5S 2W6

Office: BN 231A

Telephone: 416-946-3624

Scientific Team

Principal Investigator

Linda Trinh

 

Graduate Students

Ally Tabaczynski is a first year Masters student working in the Exercise Oncology lab at the University of Toronto. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from University of Rhode Island. She is interested in researching the effects of physical activity on surgical outcomes in endometrial cancer survivors. Ally hopes to pursue a career in academia and continue to contribute to the field of exercise oncology research.

Alexis Whitehorn

Alexis Whitehorn graduated from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology in 2018. She is currently working in the Exercise Oncology Lab as a first year Masters student at the University of Toronto. Her research interest involves home-based functional fitness testing with cancer survivors. Alexis is committed to one day owning her own personal training studio. She plans to motivate clients to become physically active and maintain a healthier lifestyle. 

 

Undergraduate students

Denise Bastas

Denise Bastas is a 4th year undergraduate student at the University of Toronto studying Kinesiology. She is interested in the field of exercise oncology as she believes it has the potential to have significant impacts on the lives and functioning of cancer survivors and believes it should be incorporated as an integral part of care and treatment. She is particularly interested in understanding healthcare providers attitude and competence counselling physical activity, as she believes they hold a unique position in promoting and counselling physical activity to cancer survivors.

Princess Ulona

Princess Ulona is a 4th year undergraduate student at the University of Toronto studying Kinesiology. The Exercise Oncology Lab has allowed her to better understand the effects of exercise on cancer survivorship. Princess is interested in understanding how exercise interventions improve quality of life in cancer survivors. She is particularly interested in enhancing cognitive functioning in cancer survivors using exercise interventions. 

 

University of Toronto alumni

 

University of Illinois Graduate AlumnI

Dominick Strom, MSc (2017-2018)

Jaime Wong, MSc (2016-2018)

 

University of Illinois underGraduate AlumnI

Joshua Lee, BSc (Winter 2018)

Ashley Raehsler, BSc (Winter 2018)

Marianna Zalova, BSc  (Winter 2018)

Maddie Forouhi, BSc (2017-2018)

Madeline Gagnon, BSc (2017-2018)

Sophia Kim, BSc (2017-2018)

Jacqueline Surd, BSc (2017-2018)

Samantha Gibbons, BSc (2015-2018)

Waleed Aldadah, BSc (2016-2017)

Adrian Tellez, BSc ​(2016-2017)

Michelle Wilson, BSc (2016-2017)

 

Collaborators

 

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Northeastern University

Sunnybrook Health Sciences

University of Victoria

Baycrest

Carle Cancer Center

University of British Columbia