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

Jaime Wong (MSc. candidate) presents a research poster on ‘Sleep Duration and Quality of Life in Kidney Cancer Survivors: Interactions with Sedentary Behavior’ at the Society of Behavioral Medicine 38th Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA.

Jaime Wong research poster

Dominick Strom (MSc. candidate) presents a research poster on the ‘Associations Between Meeting Combined Exercise-Oncology Guidelines and Quality of Life in Kidney Cancer Survivors’ at the Society of Behavioral Medicine 38th Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA.

Dominick Strom and his 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.

Dominick Strom

Dominick received a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2016. He is currently pursuing his Master of Science in Kinesiology and will graduate in May 2018. Dominick enjoys working with cancer survivors, and he feels blessed to be a driving force behind the BOOST physical activity program for prostate cancer survivors. His overall career aspirations are to become a high school Biology teacher and coach athletics on the side.

Jaime Wong

Jaime Wong graduated from Willamette University with a Bachelor of Arts in Exercise Science in 2015. She is currently working in the Exercise Oncology lab as a first year Masters student at the University of Illinois Department of Kinesiology and Community Health. Her research interests revolve around the effects of physical activity on mental/emotional health, psychosocial health and quality of life as they relate to cancer survivorship and control in general and minority populations. Jaime is committed to one day serving her Native Hawaiian community where cancer is one of the leading causes of death, as an exercise oncologist.

 

Research Assistants

Waleed Aldadah

Waleed is a recent graduate of the University of Illinois who majored in Molecular and Cellular Biology and minored in Spanish, Sociology, and Chemistry. His career aspirations are to go to medical school. With an interest in oncology, Waleed had previous experiences in cancer drug development, specifically in small protein inhibitors. While he enjoyed the preventative aspect of cancer research, he wanted to delve into the post-treatment perspective with a goal of keeping survivors healthy physically and mentally. In light of this goal, the exercise oncology lab was the perfect fit for him to do just that!

 

Undergraduate students

Alexis Whitehorn

Alexis Whitehorn is a Junior, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign currently studying Kinesiology. She would like to work with cancer survivors due to the fact, when growing up, her family has suffered from many complications with cancer. It has always been a goal of hers to work directly with cancer survivors and learn, as well as, understand more about the disease. Working with cancer survivors is something she holds dear to her, due to her personal knowledge about cancer from family members who have encountered it. Something she hopes to obtain from this study is to learn from the participants and implement what she learns into her life to help others around her.

Samantha Gibbons

Samantha Gibbons is a sophomore striving for a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology. She aspires to be a Physical Therapist. She has worked in the Exercise Oncology Laboratory since Spring 2016 She took an interest in this Laboratory because of the opportunity to work with cancer survivors allowing her to help better their lives through research. Being in the lab allows her to have interactions that she wouldn’t receive anywhere else along with the opportunity to learn something new every day.

Madeline Gagnon

Maddie Gagnon is a senior studying Kinesiology at the University of Illinois. In the future, she plans to obtain her doctorate degree in physical therapy. Hopefully, she will be starting her journey towards her career path this coming summer in 2018. Her interest in working in the Exercise Oncology Laboratory sparked during my spring semester of 2016 when she lost her father to urethral cancer. Although her father lost his battle against cancer, she now aspires to help others with their fight.

Jacqueline Surd

Jacqueline Surd is a senior studying Interdisciplinary Health with a concentration in Health Behavior Change. After graduation, she plans on attending graduate school to pursue her masters in Occupational Therapy. She is honored to work as an Undergraduate Assistant in the Exercise Oncology Lab because she has always been interested in cancer research and how exercise helps keep survivors healthy mentally and physically. In addition, working in the Exercise Oncology Laboratory would help her gain valuable experience in order to help me reach my goal of becoming an occupational therapist.

Maddie Forouhi

Maddie Forouhi is majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology with a minor in Chemistry. She aspires to attend medical school in the future. Maddie has worked in various clinical settings and hopes to apply knowledge from past experience while working with patients in the Exercise Oncology Lab. She would like to become a part of the community of people working to improve the prognoses of cancer patients by developing simple and applicable lifestyle changes. Working in the Exercise Oncology Lab provides Maddie with experience so she can eventually become involved in cancer control and prevention.

Sophia Kim

Sophia is a junior that is majoring in Kinesiology and also on the pre-medical track. Sophia joined this lab to spread awareness on the extraordinary effects of exercising on the mind and body. She wants to contribute to the research for the application of exercise as preventative medicine and to improve the overall quality of life.

Marianna Zalova

Marianna is a sophomore that is majoring in Kinesiology. She is on a pre-physical therapy track and hopes to start applying to graduate schools by the end of next year. She is honored to be part of the EOL because of the unique opportunities she gets to experience such as finding the effects of physical activity while also working with cancer survivors. Not only is she constantly learning something new in the laboratory, she gets to work with such great people that are always willing to help and make this experience, a once in a lifetime one. She can’t wait to take along the memories she makes this semester with her in life and utilize the tools created in this lab with her in the future.

Ashley Raehsler

Ashley Raehsler is a junior, studying kinesiology at the University of Illinois, with a concentration in Pre-Physical Therapy.  She aspires to earn her Doctorate degree in Physical Therapy and one day become a Pediatric Physical Therapist. While working in the Exercise Oncology Lab, Ashley is most excited to learn more about cancer survivors and how exercise empowers survivors to live a happy and healthy lifestyle. She is an advocate for physical activity and is excited to spread awareness about the benefits physical activity has.

Joshua Lee

Josh Lee is a Junior studying Kinesiology at the University of Illinois. After completing his undergraduate years, he plans to obtain a doctorate degree in physical therapy. Josh’s interest in the Exercise Oncology Lab began during the fall semester of 2017 as his grandfather lost his battle from prostate cancer. He hopes to gain valuable experiences in working with participants in the lab while also implementing what he learns to help others.

 

AlumnI

Michelle Wilson, BSc

Adrian Tellez, BSc ​

 

Collaborators

 

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Northeastern University

Sunnybrook Health Sciences

University of Victoria

Baycrest

Carle Cancer Center

University of British Columbia