Exercise as medicine for cancer

Kerri Winters-Stone, Ph.D., is an exercise physiologist whose research focus is developing targeted exercise strategies that will help people with cancer manage symptoms, overcome side effects, maximize quality of life and potentially improve survival.

She has led more than 15 clinical trials examining the benefits of exercise training for numerous outcomes, including physical functioning, fall prevention, bone health, emotional well being and quality of life in over 2,000 cancer survivors. Some studies also include caregivers who can use exercise to relieve the physical and emotional toll of caring for someone with cancer.

The Winters-Stone Exercise Lab has received more than $25 million in funding since 2003 from the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen, and the Livestrong and Movember foundations. Most recently, she received a $2.5 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to study the benefits of a partnered exercise program for couples coping with cancer.

Dr. Winters-Stone is a professor in the Division of Oncological Sciences in the OHSU School of Medicine and leads the division’s Cancer Population Science Program. She also co-directs the Community Partnership Program and the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute.

Get in touch

Interested in learning more or getting involved? We'd love to connect. Email our team at exercise@ohsu.edu or call us at 503 346-0444.

Featured news

Master classes for physical therapy professionals will appear in upcoming journal

Kerri Winters-Stone, Ph.D., and Kimi Daniel, M.S., delivered master classes on exercise-based approaches to improve functioning in cancer survivors to over 60 therapists in Copenhagen and Amsterdam.

Sponsored by the Danish and Dutch physical therapy associations, Kerri Winters-Stone, Ph.D., and Kimi Daniel, M.S., delivered master classes on exercise-based approaches to improve functioning in cancer survivors to over 60 therapists in Copenhagen and Amsterdam. They were invited to write a paper on the program to be published in the journal of the Danish Physical Therapy association.

Helping cancer patients with bone metastases benefit from exercise

Illustrated image of people exercising at a step aerobics class

An international panel including OHSU’s Kerri Winters-Stone, Ph.D., has published best practice recommendations on exercise for people with cancer that has spread to their bones.

Delivering exercise medicine to cancer survivors

Photo of Kerri Winters-Stone, Ph.D., an exercise scientist at OHSU.

Cancer patients don’t need to avoid physical exertion, including exercise

People doing chair exercises with a trainer.

Exercise is not only safe during and after cancer treatment, studies have found that physical training can bring improvements in daily functioning and quality of life while reducing symptoms such as cancer-related fatigue. And there is even some early evidence linking exercise to living longer with cancer.

Study opportunities

Health Magazine Winter 2020 | exercise class as a treatment for cancer

We are currently enrolling cancer patients and survivors in a variety of clinical trials. Here are some of the types of patients and survivors we want to learn more about:

  • Couples where one partner or spouse has survived cancer
  • Prostate cancer survivors who were treated with androgen deprivation therapy
  • Men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer
  • Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy
  • Survivors who underwent chemotherapy within the last 5 years

Learn more about our clinical trial study opportunities

In the photo at left, cancer survivor Bill Westmoreland takes part in an exercise study at OHSU funded by the National Institutes of Health. Updated guidance details how physical activity, tailored to the individual, can reduce side effects and improve quality of life. Read the story on OHSU News.

Survivors and caregivers: Life after cancer

Medical science has greatly improved the odds of surviving cancer, so much so that health systems are grappling with a new challenge: helping survivors adjust to living a long life after completing therapy. Hear how survivors and care providers are building systems of support, developing ways to stay well in body, mind and spirit – and forging opportunity amidst the crisis of cancer.

Dr. Winters-Stone joined panelists Amy Dee, a professor at George Fox University and cancer survivor, and Susan Hedlund, director of patient and family support services at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, for this one hour Knight School discussion. 

"We have an obligation to start moving exercise into the standard of care for cancer patients.”

Kerri Winters-Stone, Ph.D.
Professor in the Division of Oncological Sciences, OHSU School of Medicine