Recruitment for this project has now been successfully completed.

About the project

The project aimed to examine whether fish oil (omega-3) and exercise help with body weight and composition after treatment for breast cancer.

Weight gain in conjunction with muscle loss occurs in many women after treatment for breast cancer. Exercise has already shown to be effective in reducing and/or reversing these body changes after treatment. Omega-3 supplementation has shown promise in improving body composition in other populations. Therefore the M.O.D.E.L study aimed to observe the impact of the combination of omega-3 supplementation and exercise on body composition and markers of stress after breast cancer treatment.

What were the results of this project?

Currently the researcher's results are being reviewed in peer reviewed journals, and they will be able to announce their findings when the reviews are complete.

The researcher: Associate Professor Judy Bauer

Associate Professor Judy Bauer is a leading clinical academic dietetic practitioner. She is Program Director of the Master of Dietetics Studies at the University of Queensland and Manager of Nutrition Services at the Wesley Hospital, Brisbane. Judy's research interests include innovative dietetic intervention programs to improve patient outcomes in cancer particularly in relation to fish oil and development of evidence based practice guidelines. She has over 70 publications, achieved research funding over $2.2 million and is recognized internationally for her research. She is a Fellow of the Dietitians Association of Australia, member of the Australian Dietetics Council and Clinical Oncology Society Council and a past DAA board member.

Who was this project suitable for?

Women who have completed breast cancer treatment within the last 12 months (although they could be still continuing with Herceptin or hormonal therapies) who are living within a one hour commute to Brisbane CBD. Women with a diagnosis of cardiovascular disease or diabetes were unable to participate. Women with an allergy to fish or fish oil were not able to participate in the study.

What did this project involve?

The study was of 6 months duration. Participants were randomly allocated to one of 3 groups: high dose omega-3 alone, omega-3 plus a 12 week diet and exercise education program, or placebo and education program. Participants were also asked to complete a questionnaire, provide 3 blood samples from the forearm at 3 month intervals, and perform a walking treadmill exercise test. The program was run by an accredited exercise physiologist and accredited dietitian and the information was tailored to the needs of women who have completed breast cancer treatment. All those who received omega-3 alone were given full access to the education program and were also given all exercise equipment following the 6 month study.

Where was the project conducted?

The project was conducted at the Wesley Research Institute and Wesley Hospital in Toowong, Brisbane, Queensland. Participants needed to travel to this facility to participate in the research project.

What publications were achieved as a result of this project?

This project is still underway however we will add information about the publications resulting from the research as soon as they are available.