Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 1953–1962 | Cite as

Get Healthy after Breast Cancer - examining the feasibility, acceptability and outcomes of referring breast cancer survivors to a general population telephone-delivered program targeting physical activity, healthy diet and weight loss

  • S. Lawler
  • G. Maher
  • M. Brennan
  • A. Goode
  • M. M. Reeves
  • E. Eakin
Original Article



This pilot study assessed the feasibility, acceptability and outcomes of referring breast cancer survivors to the ‘Get Healthy Service’ (GHS), a state health-funded 6-month telephone-delivered lifestyle program.


Pre-post study with eligible and consenting women following treatment for stages I–III breast cancer referred by nurses in a cancer treatment centre to the GHS. Feasibility was assessed via GHS uptake and completion; acceptability was assessed via patient satisfaction and nurse feedback. Changes in weight, physical activity, diet, quality of life (QoL) and fatigue from baseline to 6 months were examined.


Fifty-three women (mean ± SD body mass index, 31.0 ± 5.5 kg/m2; age, 57.3 ± 10.0 years; 14.0 ± 7.1 months post-diagnosis; 43.4% born outside Australia, 49% high school or less education, 32.1% English as a second language) took up the GHS, with 62% completing the program. Almost all (92%) completers had high satisfaction ratings and breast nurses provided positive feedback. Findings from GHS completers (n = 33) show a statistically significant effect from baseline to 6 months for weight loss (mean ± SE; −2.4 ± 0.7 kg; p = 0.002) and total physical activity minutes per week (55 ± 18 min/week; p = 0.006). No significant changes in fruit or vegetable servings per day or takeaways and fast food frequency per week were observed. A significant improvement in mental QoL was observed (3.5 ± 1.6; p = 0.041), but not for physical QoL or fatigue.


GHS referral appeared feasible, acceptable and effective for a diverse group of women following completion of treatment for breast cancer, yet more remains to be done to fully integrate GHS screening and referral into usual care.


Breast cancer Survivorship Telephone coaching Physical activity Exercise Diet 


Compliance with ethical standards


This project was funded by an Early Career Research grant from The University of Queensland. Eakin is supported by an Australian National Health and Medical Research Council Senior Research Fellowship. Reeves is supported by a Fellowship from the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

520_2017_3599_MOESM1_ESM.docx (27 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 26 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cancer Prevention Research Centre, School of Public HealthThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Westmead Breast Cancer InstituteSydneyAustralia

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