About ACE for Survivors

The purpose of the Alberta Cancer Exercise (ACE) Program is to support active lifestyles, and improvement of health outcomes, by offering community-based exercise programs for cancer survivors.


About 2500 people across Alberta will take part in this study. 


If you agree to take part in this study, you will undergo screening and fitness testing and will be referred to a suitable exercise program. The exercise program will take place at selected sites across Alberta, two times per week for a 12-week period. The exercise program will be tailored to your fitness level and designed to address your personal fitness or lifestyle goals.


All participants will have measurements taken at the start of the study, at 12-weeks, 24 weeks and at one year to see the effect of exercise on their physical activity levels and quality of life. Participants taking part in the study will have the option to receive a follow-up questionnaire after completing the exercise program each year for up to 5 years (remaining length of the study).


Possible benefits from taking part in the program include better energy, improved strength and physical fitness and better overall health and wellness.


You may experience side effects from participating in this study. The main side effect from exercise testing and training is secondary muscle soreness. You may notice that your muscles are sore for a couple of days after the testing session and during the first week or so of the exercise program.  We expect that these symptoms will get better as you get used to the exercise. 


Your sessions will be supervised and your program designed to minimize this risk by slowly increasing the amount and intensity of your exercise over time.  Your exercises will be modified as needed if you experience any excessive muscle soreness or fatigue from your exercise sessions.  


There is also a very small risk of heart issues (such as chest pain, irregular heart rate, heart attack) should you exercise too intensively. To avoid any risks associated with exercise, you will be screened to ensure it is safe and appropriate for you to take part in the exercise program. All exercise will be of a low to moderate intensity level to minimize the stress on the heart and body.  As well, we will monitor your vital signs (e.g., heart rate, blood pressure) during the exercise testing and if needed, when you exercise at the community location. 


If any issues develop during the study period, your exercise sessions may be temporarily stopped or discontinued altogether.


The following fitness testing will be done as part of this study, and will take about 30 minutes to complete: 


  • Body composition measurement:  We will measure your height and body weight.  As well, we will take a measurement of your waist and hip size with a tape measure.  


  • Aerobic endurance measurement: We will have you perform a 6-minute walk test in a hallway or on indoor track to help us determine your fitness level. This is a submaximal test, meaning that you will walk at a moderate pace for the 6-minute time period. 


  • Musculoskeletal fitness measurement: we will measure your grip strength, measure your lower body endurance (30 second Sit to Stand test), and assess your flexibility using a sit-and-reach test and shoulder elevation measure.  We will also assess your balance by a one-legged stance balance test. These tests take around 20 minutes to complete.


  • Optional fitness tests: Depending on your interests and the location of your exercise program, you may undergo additional fitness testing, including the following assessments: plank test (core endurance);  submaximal/maximal strength test for upper body (bench press) and your legs (leg press); submaximal cycle or treadmill test (for target heart rate).


The following information will also be collected:

  • Questionnaires: You will be provided with a 45 minute online questionnaire to complete at the start of the study, at 12 weeks, at 24 weeks, and at one year. You will have the option to complete the follow-up questionnaires each year for the duration of the study (up to 5 years). The purpose of the questionnaire is to understand how the program affects different aspects of your life.

  • Participant Diary: You will be asked to keep a diary of your daily physical activity during the 12-week exercise program and submit it to the research team.

Any personal information collected as part of ACE is for research and programming purposes and will remain strictly confidential.

© 2017 by the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary