Date of Award


Document Type



Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Cindy Flom-Meland


Cancer, exercise, physical therapy, strength, balance, quality of life


People who are diagnosed with cancer and undergo radiation or chemotherapy treatment are at great risk for developing long-term side effects such as fatigue, balance deficits, depression, and decreased quality of life months and even years following treatment. With approximately 16.9 million people in the United States with a history of invasive cancer, and an expected steady increase in this number in the coming years, a better understanding of these side effects and how they can be treated would be instrumental for health care professionals. The purpose of this study was to test the effect of exercise intervention on fatigue, balance, depression, and quality of life in individuals that had radiation or chemotherapy for cancer treatment. To test the effects of exercise intervention and the progress of the participants, the 6- Minute Walk Test, grip strength, Semmes Weinstein Filament Testing, FACT-G, Fullerton Advanced Balance Scale, proprioceptive testing, Dynamic Gait Index, FACIT-Fatigue Scale, Mini-BESTest, and DASS 21 were utilized. The participants were tested initially using those functional assessments, and the following week they were given personalized home exercise programs developed by the physical therapy students. The participants were then tested at 3 weeks and again at 6 weeks of completing the home exercise programs. Four participants that had undergone medical treatment for cancer were initially selected and tested, and three participants were tested at weeks three and six and completed the study. The study found that in individuals post-cancer treatment, performing an individualized exercise plan may play a role in increasing endurance, balance, and quality of life, while also decreasing fatigue and depression.

However, the results across the three participants were variable and some improvements were not large enough to be considered clinically significant