Using wearable technology to get breast cancer survivors active
Physical activity can reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence, prevent other chronic diseases and reduce psychosocial stress. Despite these benefits, breast cancer survivors (like most of us!) often struggle to incorporate regular physical activity into their lives. This struggle has driven researchers to find innovative strategies to help women with breast cancer to get active.
Cancer Council Victoria's Dr Brigid Lynch believes that the rise of wearable technology, such as Apple watches, Fitbits and Garmin devices, may hold the answer.
'Wearables allow users to easily self-monitor their physical activity behaviour. These devices log a range of metrics related to activity and health, including step count, non-move time and sleep. Wearables provide real-time feedback, which helps to motivate individuals to improve their efforts to achieve their activity goals,' says Dr Lynch.
Consumer uptake of wearable technologies has been remarkable. But while this multi-billion dollar industry has excited many health experts, it has generated scepticism in others.
'There is great potential to harness wearables to facilitate improvements in health behaviours. These devices are relatively inexpensive, and can be used almost anywhere. However, we just don't know whether wearables can create lasting behavioural change,' says Dr Lynch.
That’s where the ACTIVATE trial comes in. Dr Lynch will test whether using wearables can increase physical activity and reduce the amount of time spent sitting by women who have undergone treatment for breast cancer. This information will help inform if and how healthcare professionals recommend their use to cancer survivors.
The ACTIVATE Trial is currently recruiting women who have been diagnosed with stage I to III post-menopausal breast cancer, completed their primary treatment and can visit Cancer Council Victoria (615 St Kilda Road, Melbourne) on one occasion. All participants will keep the Garmin Vivofit2® device at the conclusion of the trial.
Click ACTIVATE to find out more.