Journal of Cancer Survivorship

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 80–91 | Cite as

How do different delivery schedules of tailored web-based physical activity advice for breast cancer survivors influence intervention use and efficacy?

  • CE Short
  • A Rebar
  • EL James
  • MJ Duncan
  • KS Courneya
  • RC Plotnikoff
  • R Crutzen
  • C Vandelanotte



The purpose of the study is to investigate the impact of differing delivery schedules of computer-tailored physical activity modules on engagement and physical activity behaviour change in a web-based intervention targeting breast cancer survivors.


Insufficiently active breast cancer survivors (n = 492) were randomly assigned to receive one of the following intervention schedules over 12 weeks: a three-module intervention delivered monthly, a three-module intervention delivered weekly or a single module intervention. Engagement with the website (number of logins, time on site, modules viewed, action plans completed) was measured using tracking software. Other outcomes (website acceptability, physical activity behaviour) were assessed using online surveys. Physical activity outcomes were analysed using regression models for both study completers and when applying intention-to-treat (using multiple imputation).


Completers allocated to the monthly module group rated the intervention higher (b = 2.2 95 % CI = 0.02–4.53) on acceptability and had higher levels of resistance-training (IRR = 1.88, 95 % CI = 1.16–3.04) than those in the single module group. When accounting for missing data, these differences were no longer significant. The completion of at least two action plans was higher among those allocated to the monthly module group compared to those in the weekly module group (53 vs 40 %, p = 0.02); though the completion of at least two modules was higher in the weekly module group compared to the monthly module group (60 vs 46 %; p = 0.01). There were no other significant between group differences observed.


This study provides preliminary evidence that web-based computer-tailored interventions can be used to increase physical activity among breast cancer survivors. Further, there were some outcome differences based on how the tailored modules were delivered, with the most favourable outcomes observed in the monthly delivery group.

Implications for Cancer Survivors

This study will be useful for informing the design of future web-based interventions targeting breast cancer survivors.


Physical activity eHealth Cancer Behaviour change 



The authors thank Catherine Coysh for her assistance with the project and feedback on the manuscript. CES is supported by an Early Career Fellowship (ID 1090517) from the National Health and Medical Research Council. ALR is supported by an Early Career Fellowship (ID1105926) from the National Health Medical Research Council. KSC is supported by the Canada Research Chairs Program. RCP is supported by a Research Fellowship from the National Health and Medical Research Council. CV is supported by a Future Leader Fellowship from the National Heart Foundation of Australia (ID 100427). MJD is supported by a Future Leader Fellowship (ID 100029) from the National Heart Foundation of Australia.

Compliance with ethical standards


CES is supported by an Early Career Fellowship (ID 1090517) from the National Health and Medical Research Council. ALR is supported by an Early Career Fellowship (ID1105926) from the National Health Medical Research Council. KSC is supported by the Canada Research Chairs Program. RCP is supported by a Research Fellowship from the National Health and Medical Research Council CV is supported by a Future Leader Fellowship from the National Heart Foundation of Australia (ID 100427). MJD is supported by a Future Leader Fellowship (ID 100029) from the National Heart Foundation of Australia.

Conflict of interest

All 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

11764_2016_565_MOESM1_ESM.docx (20 kb)
Figure S1 (DOCX 19 kb)
11764_2016_565_MOESM2_ESM.docx (19 kb)
Table S1 (DOCX 19 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • CE Short
    • 1
    • 2
  • A Rebar
    • 1
  • EL James
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  • MJ Duncan
    • 3
    • 4
  • KS Courneya
    • 7
  • RC Plotnikoff
    • 4
  • R Crutzen
    • 8
  • C Vandelanotte
    • 1
  1. 1.Physical Activity Research Group; School of Human, Health and Social SciencesCentral Queensland UniversityRockhamptonAustralia
  2. 2.Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men’s Health; School of MedicineUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  3. 3.School of Medicine and Public HealthUniversity of NewcastleCallaghanAustralia
  4. 4.Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and NutritionUniversity of NewcastleCallaghanAustralia
  5. 5.Priority Research Centre in Health BehaviourUniversity of NewcastleCallaghanAustralia
  6. 6.Hunter Medical Research InstituteNew Lambton HeightsAustralia
  7. 7.Faculty of Physical Education and RecreationUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  8. 8.Department of Health Promotion/CAPHRIMaastricht UniversityMaastrichtNetherlands

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