What is the Optimising Care study?

Optimising CareThe ‘Optimising care: Supporting you to be active and eat well’ study, is a research study to determine the suitability of an exercise and dietary program for women who have metastatic breast cancer (also known as advanced or secondary breast cancer).

Physical activity and a healthy, well-balanced diet have been shown to be beneficial for women with early stage breast cancer, however very few studies have looked at whether addressing physical activity and dietary intake can improve the well-being and physical health of women with metastatic breast cancer.

The study is being led by researchers at The University of Queensland and has been funded by the National Breast Cancer Foundation and is endorsed by Breast Cancer Network Australia.

Who is the study for?

  • Women diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer
  • Aged 18 years or older
  • Women residing within the greater Brisbane area and able to travel to the Mater Campus, South Brisbane for assessments.


What will happen if I decide to take part?

The program will include 8 sessions with an Accredited Exercise Physiologist and 8 sessions with an Accredited Practicing Dietitian over a 16-week period.

  • The program will be designed and tailored to you.
  • The sessions with the exercise physiologist can be based at your local gym (we will provide your membership), at your home or another convenient location (e.g. park). The exercise physiologist will work with you to increase aerobic and resistance (strength-based) exercise.
  • You will have one session with the dietitian face-to-face and seven sessions over the telephone. The dietitian will work with you to improve the quality of your dietary intake and help you to manage any symptoms you may have (e.g. nausea, constipation/diarrhoea).

You would take part in 3 study assessments – at the start of the program, end of the program (16-weeks later), then 6-months later (10 months). At each study assessment, we will measure:

  • Your muscle mass, strength and fitness
  • Your well-being, quality of life and any symptoms
  • Your dietary intake and physical activity levels

This will allow us to scientifically test the benefits of the program.

What are the benefits to me if I take part?

  • No studies to date have examined the benefits of an exercise and dietary program for women with metastatic breast cancer.
  • Therefore, we cannot guarantee that you will receive any personal benefit from participating in this study.
  • You will receive free access to a team of accredited health professionals and researchers, who will design a program just for you, based on the best available evidence.
  • Your involvement in this study will help shape the care available to women diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in the future.

Who is running this study?

Principal investigator

 Associate Professor Marina Reeves, The University of Queensland

Hospital chief investigators

Associate Professor Nicole McCarthy, Icon Cancer Care

Dr Catherine Shannon, Mater Misericordiae Limited

Professor Liz Kenny, Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital

Dr Kathryn Middleton, Princess Alexandra Hospital and Mater Misericordiae Limited

Optimising care

Study funding and approvals

This study has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committees of the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, and The University of Queensland in accordance with the National Health and Medical Research Council’s guidelines.

This study is funded by the National Breast Cancer Foundation


What do I do to find out more about the study?

If you are interested in finding out more about the study, click on the link below to complete an Expression of Interest form.

A member of the research team will then ring you to see if you are eligible to take part and answer any of your queries.

Expressions of interest



If you would like contact us, please email optimisingcare@uq.edu.au or call the Project Manager, Jane Erickson on (07) 3365 5190.

Expressions of interest