Anna Campbell
Anna Campbell

Prof Anna Campbell



I trained as an immunologist/ biochemist and worked in the biotechnology industry until 1998. Since graduating in 2000 with a MSc in Sport and Exercise Science, I have concentrated on researching the physical and psychological effects of exercise and physical activity after a cancer diagnosis. I have published over 60 research papers and three academic book chapters in the field of exercise and cancer survivorship.

My research has been based around the development and testing of pragmatic interventions for cancer survivors and examining the effects of physical activity / exercise on cardiorespiratory fitness, active daily living, psychological well being and quality of life. These studies have involved working with breast, gynaecological, colorectal and lung cancer patients.

I consider myself as a "Pracademic" ie my academic work is closely connected to the practitioners' world : health professionals working in the field of oncology and fitness professionals working in community setting with clients with chronic conditions. I designed two exercise DVDs for cancer survivors funded by Macmillan and Breast Cancer Care; I set up the first free community based exercise programme for cancer survivors in the UK - the basis of Macmillan Cancer Care's MoveMore Programme; and I am Director of CanRehab ( which was established to train fitness professionals to provide safe effective exercise programmes for anyone post cancer diagnosis . I also have established the charity CanRehabTrust which links cancer patients to cancer exercise specialists. I am part of the WHO cancer rehabilitation 2030 group.

In addition to my research interests and establishing best practice, I am also involved in the development and teaching of Clinical Exercise Science M.Sc at Edinburgh Napier. This Masters degree builds on the Sport Exercise and Health’s research and expertise in the therapeutic role of exercise in a number of clinical settings (cancer, cardiovascular, stroke, multiple sclerosis etc.). This Masters is unique in providing a strong applied component to this degree. The MSc students work directly with cancer survivors to learn how to perform clinical exercise tests, exercise consultations/ behaviour change interventions and how to design individualised safe and effective exercise programmes for real clients. The module “Cancer Survivorship and Exercise” incorporates the CanRehab Level 4 national occupational standard vocational qualification into this Module.

I am also on the advisory board for the NHS Prehabilitation Programme for cancer patients and Chair of the international Cancer Special Interest Group at ACSM.



Advisory panels and expert committees or witness

  • International Roundtable for development of guidelines on cancer and exercise
  • Guidelines and implementation of Prehabilitation for cancer patients in NHS
  • Clinical exercise physiology workforce development in Europe advisory team
  • Chair ACSM international Cancer Special Interest Group
  • International Advisory Panel on guidelines on exercise and bone metastases
  • International 'Moving Through Cancer' Initiative
  • Prepare-ABC Trial Steering Committee
  • National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Lifestyle and Behaviour Change Subgroup
  • Macmillan's Cancer and Physical Activity Standard Evaluation Framework Group
  • Trial steering committee – B-AHEAD clinical trial
  • Breast Cancer Campaign Research Gap Advisory Group
  • Macmillan Physical Activity and Cancer Advisory Group


External Examining/Validations

  • External reviewer of University of Chichester Masters programmes. MSc/ MSci degree programmes in the area of sport and exercise science


Fellowships and Awards

  • MBE for services to cancer survivorship and exercise rehabilitation
  • Senate Award for Excellence in Teaching (University of Dundee)


Grant Reviewer

  • Irish Cancer Society Grant Applications
  • World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF)
  • External reviewer for Irish Cancer Society’s PhD studentships
  • National Institute of Health Research (NIHR)
  • Cancer Research UK
  • Chief Scientist Office (Health Services Research)
  • Prostate Cancer UK
  • Macmillan Cancer Support
  • Dutch Cancer Society Research Grants
  • Prostate Cancer UK


Invited Speaker

  • 'Implementation of exercise programmes for breast cancer patients' breast cancer interdisciplinary meeting (February 2020)
  • LUCID conference for doctors insurance (Oct 2019)
  • 'Mechanisms of protection from cancer recurrence by Exercise' Scottish Cancer Prevention Network (February 2019)
  • 'Movement Matters' OncoMove Conference Porto Portugal (Sept 2019)
  • Danish Annual Physiotherapist Conference - 'evidence review of exercise and cancer'
  • Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh Annual Symposium (March 2017)
  • Cancer Symposium: ISBNPA, Cape Town, South Africa (June 2016)
  • Royal Mardsen Cancer Exercise Conference (November each year)
  • 'Benefits of staying active after a cancer diagnosis'Royal College of Medicine GP Masterclass in cancer survivorship (December 2015)
  • 'Evidence Review on Exercise and Cancer' British Association of Exercise and Science (BASES) annual conference St George’s Park, Staffordshire (December 2015)
  • 'Exercise and Prostate Cancer'European Urology Nursing Oncology (EUAN) conference, Madrid (May 2015)
  • International Physical Activity and Health Conference Sydney, Australia, (November 2012)
  • Scottish Breast Cancer Clinical Trial Research Group Annual Meeting – Edinburgh (January 2016)
  • Scottish Breast Cancer Clinical Trial Group Annual Meeting - Dundee (November 2011)
  • Conference - Cancer and Consequences of Treatment, Warwick University (October 2010)
  • “Bone Health and Cancer Clinical Implications and Palliative Care” - Surrey University (March 2012)
  • e-ESO webinar “The role of exercise in cancer rehabilitation” ( (Jan 2013)
  • “Stacking the Odds against Cancer Occurrence and Recurrence” Scottish Cancer Prevention Network, Edinburgh (November 2011)
  • BASES Conference “Challenging the Dogma” - Glasgow (September 2010)
  • Keynote “Innovations in Oncology – Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton (June 2013)
  • Denmark and Sweden Visit: 3 days of presentations and workshops in Copenhagen, Odense and Oslo to health professionals working in cancer rehabilitation with research colleague from National Institute of Health (NIH), USA.(March 2015)
  • Keynote British Psychological Society “Sport & Exercise Psychology in Action” University of Chichester (October 2012)
  • British Dietetic Association “Living with and Beyond Cancer – Thinking Outside the Box” Brighton (September 2012).
  • International Sydney Breast Cancer Conference, Sydney Australia (October, 2012)
  • European Cancer Congress (ECCO) “Cancer, now what? Returning to normal life”, Amsterdam (September 2013)
  • Royal Marsden talk at conference “Exercise – the fourth cancer treatment (January 2015)


Public/Community Engagement

  • Exercise after a Sarcoma Diagnosis - patient group
  • 'Exercise after a kidney cancer diagnosis' Patient Forum


Research Degree External Examining

  • PhD Kira Bloomquist University of Copenhagen
  • External examiner for PhD student Lauri McDermott, University of Ulster
  • External examiner for PhD Kevin Kipling at University of Huddersfield
  • External examiner for PhD: Eric Martin at New South Wales University, Sydney Australia



  • Lung
  • Lancet Oncology
  • Health Education Research
  • European Journal of Cancer Care,
  • European Journal of Oncology Nursing,
  • J Sport and Exercise Psychology
  • Cancer Causes and Control,
  • J Cancer Survivorship,
  • Journal Clinical Oncology,
  • Physical Therapy,
  • British Medical Journal (BMJ),
  • Referee for two Cochrane Reviews
  • Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise


Visiting Positions

  • Visiting teacher to University of Copenhagen


Pre-Napier Funded Projects

  • EFFECT: Breast Cancer Campaign £60,000 - Co -investigator
  • Feasibility of Chi-gung intervention for cancer survivors: Macmillan Cancer Care:£18,200 P.I>
  • CRIB: NIHR; : £279,956 Co-investigator
  • TREATWELL: CSO £138,721 Co Investigator
  • Consultancy Income for one day/week Macmillan Cancer Care £60,000
  • 5 year follow up on breast cancer survivors in RCT exercise intervention: Macmillan Cancer Care £35,000 PI
  • B-AHEAD: NIHR £250,000 Co-investigator
  • Cancer as a catalyst for change: CSO; £246,404 Co-investigator

Current Post Grad projects

Non-Napier PhD or MSc by Research supervisions

  • PhD:Effects of Exercise on Lung Cancer Survivors - University of Surrey
  • PhD: Exercise in the management of cancer related fatigue: feasibility, barriers and facilitators University of Ulster
  • Ph D: Physiotherapy management of cancer related fatigue in the gynaecological cancer population: University of Ulster