Margaret McNeely, PhD

Professor, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine - Physical Therapy


Professor, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine - Physical Therapy
(780) 492-6007
2-50 Corbett (E.A.) Hall
8205 - 114 St NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2G4


Area of Study / Keywords

Physical Therapy Cancer Rehabilitation Implementation Practice



Margaret (Margie) McNeely is a Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. She currently holds a joint appointment in the Department of Oncology (Division of Radiation Oncology) and performs clinical rehabilitation research in partnership with the Supportive Care Services, Cancer Care Alberta. She is the current Director of the Cancer Rehabilitation Clinic in Corbett Hall


Professional Interests

  • Impairment-based cancer rehabilitation and therapeutic exercise
  • Shoulder function in survivors of cancer
  • Cancer-related peripheral nerve injury 
  • Cancer-related symptoms of pain, fatigue and lymphedema
  • Implementation Practice

Current Research Projects (click on study title for more information)

Alberta Moving Beyond Breast Cancer (AMBER)

CIHR Team in Physical Activity and Breast Cancer Survivorship Cohort Study. Leads: Dr. Kerry Courneya and Dr. Christine Friedenreich. Co-principal applicant: Dr. McNeely. Centres: Edmonton: Cross Cancer Institute and University of Alberta; Calgary: Holy Cross Centre and University of Calgary. 

Funding: Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Alberta Cancer Exercise Hybrid Effectiveness-Implementation Study (ACE)

The primary purpose of this proposed 5-year hybrid effectiveness and implementation study is to evaluate the relative benefit from, and implementation of an Alberta wide clinic-to-community-based cancer exercise model of care - the Alberta Cancer Exercise (ACE) Program. Lead: Dr. McNeely. Co-leads: Dr. Nicole Culos-Reed and Ms. Melissa Shea-Budgell. Sites: Across Alberta. Local Edmonton sites: Cancer Rehab Clinic (University of Alberta), Don Wheaton YMCA, Castledowns YMCA and Wellspring Edmonton. 

Funding: Alberta Innovates Cancer Prevention Research Opportunity 

Heal-Me Personalized Online Nutrition and Exercise Routines (PiONEeR)

The purpose of this study is to compare 12-weeks of virtual multidisciplinary programming provided at three levels of support intensity to determine impacts on clinical outcomes, acceptability, and cost amongst outpatients with cancer, liver disease, or lung disease.

Participants will be randomized to one of three groups: (i) standard care, (ii) a personnel-light app-based intervention, (iii) a personnel-intensive app-based intervention. Participants randomized to standard care will receive exercise and nutrition resources as well as a Garmin watch. Participants in the experimental groups will receive standard care, plus a 12-week multidisciplinary app-based personalized program involving 12 weeks of exercise programming and 10-weeks of nutrition programming. Participants in study group 3 will receive additional one-on-one care.

Co-Leads: Dr. Puneeta Tandon and Dr. Margaret McNeely

Funding: Alberta Innovates COVID-19 grant

EXCEL: Exercise for Cancer to Enhance Living Well (EXCEL)

As cancer survivorship numbers grow, a focus on positive health in survivorship is essential. Exercise is an evidence-based effective self-management strategy that benefits all cancer survivors (CS). However, the majority of research and the limited development of evidence-based clinical or community programs in exercise and cancer has been conducted almost exclusively in urban academic and clinical settings, with very limited implementation outreach to "hard to reach" CS.

In this proposed cancer exercise hybrid implementation effectiveness research, over 5 years we will use an integrated knowledge translation approach to move the current evidence-base that clearly supports the role of exercise in cancer survivorship, into sustainable and effective community-based or online settings that will optimize the delivery of exercise to rural/remote and underserved CS (RCS). Implementing and evaluating the proposed Exercise Oncology Survivorship (EOS) partnership model will result in a sustainable resource to support the implementation and delivery of exercise oncology programs in rural Canadian communities.

Lead: Dr. Nicole Culos-Reed; Co-PIs: Dr. Melanie Keats, Dr. Daniel Santa Mina, and Dr. Margaret McNeely

Funding: Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Alberta Cancer Foundation

Soon to be re-initiated!

Decongestive Exercise and Compression for Breast Cancer Related Lymphedema Management (DREAM)

Women who have undergone breast cancer surgery may develop swelling of the arm on the side the breast cancer occurred. If the swelling becomes chronic it is called lymphedema. This study will examine the effect of a 12-week decongestive progressive resistance exercise with advanced compression on breast cancer related lymphedema. Our objective is to determine if breast cancer survivors are willing and able to wear advanced compression while exercising and if the combination will help to reduce their lymphedema. Twenty-four breast cancer survivors from Edmonton, Alberta will be enrolled in the one-year long study.

Graduate Student project: Mona Al Onazi, PT, PhDc; Principal Investigator: Dr. Margaret McNeely

Funding: Investigator Initiated Trials: Cross Cancer Institute


PTher 504 Therapeutic Exercise: PNF, Aquatic Therapy and Chronic Edema sections

PTher 548 Long-term Conditions: Oncology module

Rehab 503 Interdisciplinary Practice: Head and Neck Cancer Elective


Dr. McNeely's lab is full. She is not accepting new graduate students at this time. 


REHAB 503 - Interprofessional Practice Elective

Application of interprofessional competencies within a specific health care context. Note: Course title is variable; course may be repeated for credit.

Browse more courses taught by Margaret McNeely

Scholarly Activities

Research - Principles of Physical and Occupational Therapy in Cancer.

Started: 2019

Chapter published in:  Cancer Rehabilitation: Principles and Practices, 2nd Edition.

Stubblefield M, Editor. Demos Medical Publishing  


Nighttime compression supports improved self-management of breast cancer–related lymphedema: A multicenter randomized controlled trial

Author(s): McNeely, ML, Dolgoy, ND, Rafn, BS, Ghosh, S, Ospina, PA, Al Onazi, MM, Radke, L, Shular, M, Kuusk, U, Webster, M, Campbell, KL, Mackey, JR
Publication Date: 10/6/2021
Publication: Cancer
Volume: Online
External Link:

A Practical Approach to Using Integrated KnowledgeTranslation to Inform a Community-BasedExercise Study

Author(s): Suderman K, Dolgoy N, Yurick J, Sellar C, Nishimura K, Culos-Reed SN, Joy AA, McNeely ML
Publication Date: 6/1/2020
Publication: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume: 17
Page Numbers: 3911
External Link:

Community-based Exercise for Health Promotion and Secondary Cancer Prevention in Canada: Protocol for a Hybrid Effectiveness-Implementation Study

Author(s): Margaret L McNeely, Christopher Sellar, Tanya Williamson, Melissa Shea-Budgell, Anil Abraham Joy, Harold Y Lau, Jacob C Easaw, Albert D Murtha, Jeffrey Vallance, Kerry Courneya, John R Mackey, Matthew Parliament, Nicole Culos-Reed
Publication: BMJ Open
External Link:

The Alberta Moving Beyond Breast Cancer (AMBER) Cohort Study: Recruitment, Baseline Assessment, and Description of the First 500 Participants.

Author(s): Courneya KS, McNeely ML, Culos-Reed SN, Vallance JK, Bell GJ, Mackey JR, Matthews CE, Morielli AR, Cook D, MacLaughlin S, Farris MS, Voaklander S, O'Reilly R, Friedenreich CM
Publication: BMC Cancer.
Volume: 16
Page Numbers: 481
External Link:

The Interdisciplinary Rehabilitation Care Team and the Role of Physical Therapy in Survivor Exercise

Author(s): McNeely ML, Dolgoy N, Onazi M, Suderman K.
Publication: Clin J Oncol Nurs
Volume: 20
Issue: 6
Page Numbers: S8-S16
External Link: