Share this article on:

Geographic Recruitment of Breast Cancer Survivors into Community-Based Exercise Interventions


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: July 2009 - Volume 41 - Issue 7 - p 1413-1420
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31819af871
Basic Sciences

Purpose: There is increased interest in developing and disseminating health behavior interventions for cancer survivors. Challenges in these efforts include participant burden in traveling to central intervention sites and sustainability. The purpose of this article is to report various methods used to recruit breast cancer survivors into an exercise intervention that attempts to address both of these challenges.

Methods: Letters were mailed within specific zip codes near community-based intervention sites in cooperation with state cancer registries. Additional recruitment methods included flyers at breast care clinics and support groups, mass media, and conferences.

Results: Of the 3200 women who responded, 82% (n = 2625) identified having heard about the study through state or hospital registry and 8% (n = 243) through print and broadcast media. Thirty-five percent (n = 103) of randomized women self-identified as having a minority racial background and 31.9% (n = 94) self-identified as African American. Comparisons of participant age and racial distribution to state cancer registries indicate similar age distribution but greater racial diversity among participants.

Conclusion: These results support the use of population-based cancer registries to recruit survivors into community-based interventions and clinical trials.

1Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; and 2New Jersey Cancer Registry, State of New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, Trenton, NJ

Address for correspondence: Kathryn Schmitz, Ph.D., M.P.H., Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, 423 Guardian Drive, 903 Blockley Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6021; E-mail:

Submitted for publication October 2008.

Accepted for publication December 2008.

©2009The American College of Sports Medicine