BLOG Physical activity for young people living with cancer

A teenage girl walks a dog

With September recognised globally as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, now is a great time to highlight our ongoing research exploring how physical activity may benefit young people receiving treatment for cancer.

Leaflet detailing The ACTION Study

We would like to invite those aged 13 to 24 years living with cancer to take part in our new physical activity study.

Cancer in Young People

Ten young people are diagnosed with cancer every day in the UK. While there has been encouraging progress in improving survival rates over the past two decades, there is an ongoing challenge to support young people with cancer to live well. They face significant challenges including having to cope with the distressing side effects of cancer treatment and may also struggle with body image concerns, anxiety, depression, and reduced quality of life. So, identifying ways to help young people manage the impacts of cancer treatment is extremely important.

Physical Activity during Cancer Treatment

Participating in physical activity may be beneficial for young people receiving treatment for cancer and may help to reduce the negative effects of treatment while improving physical strength, mental well-being and overall quality of life. Engaging in a physical activity that they enjoy may also help young people living with cancer to maintain a sense of normality and routine in their lives. Evidence shows that physical activity is beneficial for adults during cancer treatment.

To help young people be more active during cancer treatment, we have developed a physical activity programme called Snacktivity-C™.


Snacktivity-C™ has been designed with young people who have experienced cancer, their families and healthcare professionals. Snacktivity-C™ promotes 2-5 minute ‘activity snacks’ that could include activities such as walking up and down the stairs, squats or lunges. Those who take part in Snacktivity-C™ are provided with a Fitbit physical activity tracker and access to a mobile phone app called SnackApp to monitor their physical activity.

The ACTION Study

Our ACTION Study will explore whether young people enjoy taking part in Snacktivity-C™ and if the programme helps them to be more active and manage treatment-related side effects.

We are inviting individuals aged 13 to 24 years and living with cancer to take part. For every three people who agree to take part, two will be randomly allocated to the intervention group, and one will be allocated to the comparator group. Those in the intervention group will receive the Snacktivity-C™ programme, while those in the comparator group will receive a physical activity leaflet. At the end of the study, those in the comparator group will be provided with details of the Snacktivity-C™ programme so they can try Snacktivity-C™ if they choose and will also receive the Fitbit watch. All participants will be provided a £20 Amazon voucher at the end of the study.

Find out more

Find out more about The ACTION Study on our study webpage or by emailing Ellie or register your interest in taking part.


Ellie Langworthy, Doctoral Researcher