About Professor Sharon Kilbreath

Sharon's passion is to reduce the impact of medical and surgical treatment of breast cancer on women, and to provide evidence on which to base rehabilitation strategies.

Professor Sharon Kilbreath is a leading researcher on rehabilitation for women treated for breast cancer.

Sharon Kilbreath is Professor and leader of the Breast Cancer Research Group within the Faculty of Health Sciences.  This group is making major international impact in two areas (i) management strategies for the musculoskeletal problems that arise as a consequence of surgical and medical treatment for breast cancer and (ii) the improvement, diagnosis, and treatment of lymphoedema.  Professor Kilbreath’s team has been successful in attracting external competitive grants to examine physiological aspects as well as rehabilitation strategies for women treated with breast cancer and in attracting postgraduate research students to work on topics related to breast cancer. Her team has recently held and currently holds several externally-funded research grants from the Australian NH&MRC, The NSW Cancer Council, National Breast Cancer Foundation and the NSW Cancer Institute. The focus of these projects are multidisciplinary, drawing together experts from a range of backgrounds physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, breast surgeons and oncologists, nurses, sociologists, biostatisticians, and senior clinicians.  Additionally, Professor Kilbreath has successfully attracted external funding to investigate issues related to improvement in walking ability following stroke.  Professor Kilbreath is currently the Research Convenor for the Clinical and Rehabilitation Sciences Research Group at the University’s Faculty of Health Sciences.

Selected publications

  • Merchant CR, Chapman T, Kilbreath SL, Refshauge KM, Krupa K. Decreased muscle strength following management of breast cancer. Disability and Rehabilitation. Accepted May, 2007
  • Lee TS, Kilbreath SL, Refshauge KM, Pendlebury SC, Beith JM, Lee MJ.  Pectoral stretching program for women undergoing radiotherapy for breast cancer.  Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2007 102(3):313-21
  • Sawkins K, Refshauge K, Kilbreath S, Raymond J (2007). The placebo effect of ankle taping in ankle instability. Med Sci Sports Exerc 39: 781-787.
  • Kilbreath SL, Refshauge KM, Beith JM, Ward LC, Simpson JM, Hansen RD. Progressive resistance training and stretching following surgery for breast cancer: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. BMC Cancer. 2006 Dec 1;6:273.
  • Kilbreath SL, Heard RC. (2005) Frequency of hand usage in healthy older persons.  Australian Journal of Physiotherapy 51:119-22.
  • Butler T, Kilbreath SL, Gorman R, Gandevia SC. (2005) Behaviour of single motor units in human flexor digitorum superficialis during flexion of individual fingers.  Journal of Physiology 567 (Pt 1):301-9
  • DeJong A, Kilbreath SL, Refshauge KM, Adams R.  (2005) Performance in different proprioceptive tests at the ankle is not correlated.  Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 86:2101-5.
  • Kelly J, Kilbreath SL, Davis GM, Zeman B, Raymond J. (2003) Cardiorespiratory fitness and walking ability in subacute stroke patients.  Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 84:1780-5.
  • Kilbreath SL, Gorman RB, Raymond J, Gandevia SC.  (2002)  Distribution of forces produced by motor units in human flexor digitorum profundus.  Journal of Physiology 543:289-96.
  • Kilbreath SL, Gandevia SC. (1993) Neural and biomechanical specializations of human thumb muscles revealed by matching weights and grasping objects. Journal of  Physiology 472:537-56.