Dr Catherine Sabiston
William E. Rawls Prize recipient in 2016
Dr Catherine Sabiston is a leading researcher in sport, exercise and health psychology who focuses on promoting physical activity in people living with and beyond cancer. Her research is recognized internationally for pushing boundaries and impacting both knowledge and practice.
Although physical activity can help people with cancer in many ways, most of them do not get enough to benefit. Dr Sabiston aims to understand the links between physical activity and mental health, with a special focus on cancer survivors. Dr Sabiston is well known for her highly cited work on psychological growth among breast cancer survivors. Her study of the psychosocial experiences of breast cancer survivors involved in dragon boating was published in a top exercise psychology journal. In ongoing work, Dr Sabiston is studying sedentary behaviour in breast cancer survivors to help develop training materials for healthcare providers to improve patient counselling. Through the ActiveMatch initiative, she has also created an online system to connect survivors as exercise partners to help them conquer barriers together. Overall, this work could have an extensive impact on survivors’ health and quality of life, while reducing healthcare costs.
Dr Sabiston’s career has been progressing rapidly, and her potential has been recognized with several elite early career awards. Importantly, knowledge sharing activities are integrated into every facet of her work, bridging research and practical application. She often shares her work through outreach activities targeting students, teachers, healthcare providers and patients. Integrating physical activity into cancer care and survivorship could prolong life, enhance quality of life and encourage social connection, positioning Dr Sabiston’s work to have a far-reaching impact on cancer control.
Great progress has been made
Some cancers, such as thyroid and testicular, have survival rates of over 90%. Other cancers, such as pancreatic, brain and esophageal, continue to have very low survival rates.