Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

Cancer and cancer treatment has many effects on the body. Clinicians need to understand these effects and how exercise modifies these processes in order to develop effective interventions. In this unit you will develop advanced theoretical knowledge of physiological adaptations, and the applications of exercise prescription skills for cancer rehabilitation. The unit presents the most common cancers encountered in the clinical setting. The process of the patient journey from risk factors, to diagnosis, to treatment and recovery will be explained. The role of exercise throughout the cancer journey will be explored. This unit incorporates the application of advanced concepts of exercise testing and prescription to enhance wellbeing as part of exercise rehabilitation. Finally, this unit integrates the use of current research, critical thinking and the interpretation of that research to inform evidence-based practice in program development.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Demonstrate a contemporary knowledge of the pathology, diagnosis and treatment and side effects of the most common cancers encountered in a clinical setting. (GA1) 

LO2 - Describe the cancer journey from pre-diagnosis to survivorship (GA1, GA9) 

LO3 - Integrate and utilise theoretical knowledge and skill to develop appropriate exercise programs (GA4, GA8, GA9) 

LO4 - Research and apply current theory on exercise that may impact on cancer patient outcomes (GA7, GA8, GA9) 

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include: 


  • Risk factors and disease prevention 
  • Diagnosis, treatment and side effects of common cancers  
  • Survivorship, including physical and psychological effects of cancer diagnosis and treatment. 
  • Exercise assessment 
  • Exercise prescription 
  • Exercise adherence (e.g. behavioural/cultural factors) 
  • Monitoring and follow-up 
  • Cultural diversity in the experience of cancer and  

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Learning and teaching strategies include active learning, web-based learning, case-based learning, project-based learning, and reflective/critical thinking activities, delivered across a 12 week semester online. This range of strategies will provide students with appropriate access to required knowledge and understanding of unit content, and its application. These strategies will allow students to meet the aim, learning outcomes and graduate attributes of the unit. Learning and teaching strategies will reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively within group activities.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to best enable students to demonstrate unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes, criterion referenced assessment is utilised, consistent with University assessment requirements. Assessment strategies used include: a literature review to assess the ability to locate, critique, synthesize and communicate information; and project work to assess application of this learning and its communication. These assessment tasks aim to develop a student’s knowledge, understanding and application of content by offering an authentic learning opportunity that will be transferable to their work situation. The structure of the assessments is a process of building one task onto the other.  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Literature review 

Requires students to explore the evidence and current practices in oncology, demonstrating their ability to analyse, sythnesize and communicate their findings and interpretation. 


LO1, LO2 

GA1, GA9 

Case study project 

Requires students to formulate a plan to enhance the wellbeing of the cancer survivor, demonstrating their ability to apply knowledge and understanding in a patient-centred context. 


LO3, LO4 

GA4, GA7, GA8, GA9 

Representative texts and references

  1. Courneya KS, Friedenreich CM, et al. Physical Activity and Cancer. London: Springer; 2011  
  2. Ballard-Barbash R, Friedenreich CM, Courneya KS, et al. Physical Activity, Biomarkers, and Disease Outcomes in Cancer Survivors: A Systematic Review. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2012;104(11):815-40  
  3. Mishra SI, Scherer RW, Geigle PM, et al. Exercise interventions on health-related quality of life for cancer survivors. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012;8:CD007566  
  4. Gardner JR, Livingston PM, Fraser SF. Effects of exercise on treatment-related adverse effects for patients with prostate cancer receiving androgen-deprivation therapy: a systematic review. J Clin Oncol. 2014 Feb 1;32(4):335-46  
  5. Cramp F, Daniel J. Exercise for the management of cancer-related fatigue in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;CD006145(2):1-37  
  6. Cormie P, Galvao DA, Spry N, et al. Can Supervised Exercise Prevent Treatment Toxicity in Prostate Cancer Patients Initiating Androgen Deprivation Therapy: A Randomised Controlled Trial. BJU Int. 2014 Jan 27  
  7. Cormie P, Newton RU, Taaffe DR, et al. Exercise therapy for sexual dysfunction after prostate cancer. Nat Rev Urol. 2013;10(12):731-6  
  8. Courneya KS, Segal RJ, Mackey JR, et al. Effects of exercise dose and type on sleep quality in breast cancer patients receiving chemotherapy: a multicenter randomized trial. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2014  
  9. Schmitz KH, Courneya KS, Matthews C, et al. American College of Sports Medicine roundtable on exercise guidelines for cancer survivors. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010 Jul;42(7):1409-26  
  10. Hayes SC, Spence RR, Galvao DA, et al. Australian Association for Exercise and Sport Science position stand: optimising cancer outcomes through exercise. J Sci Med Sport. 2009 Jul;12(4):428-34.  
  11. Demark-Wahnefriend, W. et al. Practical clinical interventions for diet, physical activity, and weight control in cancer survivors. CA Cancer J Clin 2015; 65: 167–189. doi: 10.3322/caac.21265 
  12. Courneya KS, McKenzie DC, Mackey JR, Gelmon K, Friedenreich CM, Yasui Y, Reid RD, Cook D, Jespersen D, Proulx C, Dolan LB, Forbes CC, Wooding E, Trinh L, Segal RJ. Effects of exercise dose and type during breast cancer chemotherapy: multicenter randomized trial. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2013; 105(23) :1821-32. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djt297 

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