The Implementation and Evaluation of a Physical Activity Model of Care within Irish Clinical Cancer Care

Leading experts have called for the inclusion of exercise as therapy within usual cancer care for every patient. However, research suggests that in Ireland, and many other countries internationally, exercise is not part of standard cancer care. This project seeks to address this by testing a physical activity model of care that could be integrated into the clinical setting in Ireland. The model will be developed in conjunction with survivors of cancer and other key stakeholders, including oncology healthcare professionals. The resultant model will be  tested as part of a two-arm comparison trial within two hospitals, namely The Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, and St. Vincent’s University Hospital. Patients attending for cancer treatment will be invited to participate. Patients will be asked to complete assessments which will evaluate a number of physical and psycho-social health outcomes, including their physical activity levels, cardiorespiratory fitness and quality of life,  at the start of the study, and at 3, 6 and 12 months. Results from this study will be used to refine the model and determine its effectiveness on a larger scale as part of further research.

PHD Student

Michael O'Brien

Michael graduated with first-class honours from the  B.Sc. (Honours) in Physical Activity and Health Science in TUS, and the Adolescent Health in the University of Galway. Following the completion of his Masters, Michael completed several research assistantships including:

  • ‘An evaluation of a 10-week dance intervention for female survivors of cancer’ with Solas Cancer Support Centre
  • ‘A scoping review of community-based PA initiatives for mental health and wellbeing across the European context’, with the South East Technological University
  • ‘A mixed-methods evaluation of community-based lymphoedema services for individuals at risk of, or living with, oncology-related lymphoedema’, with TUS and the National Cancer Control Programme, and
  • ‘An evaluation of findings and review of a 12-week pilot exercise programme for childhood survivors of cancer’ with ExWell Medical.

These projects motivated Michael to complete his PhD in the area of exercise and cancer, which he began in January 2024.