Take Charge During Treatment Study at the Medical College of Wisconsin

Were you recently diagnosed with breast cancer?

Consider joining our study to help us improve heart health and quality of life for women with breast cancer. By joining the study, you will help us better understand how to improve approaches to care for other women diagnosed with breast cancer.

The goal of the study is to understand how cancer treatment impacts the heart and how exercise could lessen these impacts.

View Take Charge During Treatment Flyer (PDF)
Take Charge During Breast Cancer Treatment

The Study: Breast Cancer Treatment and Heart Health

Take Charge During Treatment

There are 2 groups in the study and you may be randomized into one of two groups: the control (treatment as usual with exercise guidance) or intervention (supervised exercise program).

What is randomization?

Randomization means that you are selected by chance to participate in either the intervention (the exercise program) or the study control group.

How can I participate?

You may be a good fit for this program if you:

  • are female and 18 years or older
  • have been recently diagnosed with breast cancer
  • identify as African-American or Non-Hispanic White

What can I expect if I participate?

You should expect to:

  • complete health and fitness assessments
  • have blood drawn and undergo a fat biopsy
  • be randomized into the control or intervention

Take Charge Participant FAQ

Take Charge During Treatment
What is the purpose of the TAKE CHARGE study?

We want to learn how to improve the quality of life for women diagnosed with breast cancer.

This study is meant to help us get a better understanding of:

  • How breast cancer treatment drugs impact the heart
  • How certain social and neighborhood factors impact heart health after cancer treatment
  • If exercise can help improve heart health after cancer treatment
How could exercise help "protect" my heart from the effects of cancer treatment?

Research shows that exercise strengthens the heart and increases the quality of life for people without cancer.

The idea is, if you participate in the ‘Take Charge’ exercise program, designed to strengthen your heart while you receive cancer treatment, that may help "protect" the heart from some of the effects of chemotherapy.

Will this study impact my cancer treatment plan?
No. Both groups will still receive care as usual.
If I don't feel well enough to continue with the study, can I stop?
Yes. You will have a coach available to you to discuss how to manage symptoms. You also have the right to withdraw from the study if at any point you feel that you cannot participate in the required activities.
How long is the study?
The study will take place over the course of a 12-month period.
Can I still participate in the study if I move within the 12-month period?
If you move away and are unable to complete the data collection at 18-24 weeks (depending on the time your treatment cycle ends) and 12 months, you will need to withdraw from the study.
Can I choose which group (exercise or intervention) I want to be in?
To make sure the study results are meaningful, we will randomly assign you to one of the two groups. So, you do not choose which group you are put in.
Is there any direct benefit to me?
If you are in the exercise intervention, you will receive:
  • An activity tracker and resistance bands
  • “Take Charge During Treatment” program binder containing the 16-20 weekly lessons to increase knowledge and provide support related to physical activity and strength training
  • Weekly virtual coaching sessions
  • Supportive text messages 2-4 times a week from a member of the team

 If you are in the control group, you will receive:

  • A one-page summary of exercise recommendations
  • Weekly supportive text messages from a member of the team
  • Four one –one-1 exercise coaching sessions after the completion of the study
  • “Take Charge During Treatment” program binder offered after completion of the study
  • An activity tracker and resistance bands after completion of the study
Will I be charged for study appointments or materials?
No. All follow up and checkup appointments or materials required for study participation is of no charge to you.
Will I be compensated for my time?
Yes, depending on the procedures done, you will be compensated anywhere from $75 to $125 each time you perform the physical health assessments.
How often will I be required to come in and perform the physical health assessments?
You are asked to complete the same series of tasks at the time you begin the study, at 18-24 weeks, and at the end of the study (12 months).
What am I expected to do in the physical performance exams/ follow up exams?
You will be asked to participate in the following assessments 3 different times throughout the study:
  • Handgrip strength test (to measure total body muscle strength)
  • Sit-to-stand test (measures the number of sit to stand repetitions you can do in 30 seconds)
  • 6 minute walk test (to measure your heart fitness)
  • VO2 peak assessment (on a bicycle)
  • Flow mediated dilation
  • Pulse Wave Velocity

You will also be asked to:

  • Have blood drawn
  • Undergo a fat biopsy
  • Fill out surveys about your neighborhood and quality of life

See the Research Activities Schedule (PDF) for more information.

Am I allowed to start doing more exercise during the study even if I am not in the intervention group?
You should maintain "your normal" amount of physical activity.
How long is the exercise program?
The exercise program continues throughout the duration of your treatment cycle (16-20 weeks). This will vary per person.
What type of exercise am I expected to do in the exercise intervention?

You will be expected to participate in:

  • 150 minutes of moderate activity (like brisk walking, bicycling, dancing) or 75 minutes of vigorous activity (running, spin, high intensity workouts) each week
  • Resistance training at least twice a week
Where do I go to attend the exercise classes?

One on one coaching sessions will be hosted virtually (video chat, Zoom, FaceTime, etc.) and led by a coach certified in cancer exercise training.

Exercise from the comfort of your own home or any location that has access to stable connection and space to move! The research team will provide technology assistance as needed.

Who should I contact if I still have questions that were not addressed in this FAQ sheet?
Your point of contact will be Courtney Jankowski, the study research coordinator. For more clarification on anything mention on this FAQ sheet, you may reach Courtney via email at takecharge@mcw.edu or phone (414) 955-8325.

Contact Us

Please call or email Courtney if you're interested in the study.

Courtney Jankowski

Research Coordinator

(414) 955-8325