Date of Graduation

Spring 2018

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Exercise Science - PrePhysical Therapy

Research Sponsor

Judith Juvancic-Heltzel, Ph. D.

First Reader

Laura Richardson, Ph. D.

Second Reader

Ronald Otterstetter, Ph. D.


Background: There is strong evidence to support the benefits of exercise for cancer patients. However, there are few literature reviews that summarize exercise as it plays a role in all aspects of the cancer diagnosis including during cancer prevention, prehabilitation in surgical cancer patients, cancer treatment, and cancer recovery. This review serves to provide a comprehensive resource for students and health care professionals for research based findings related to the interactions between exercise and cancer.

Purpose: To summarize the current research findings involving the relationship between cancer and exercise.

Data Sources: ZipSearch, Google Scholar, and MEDLINE; 2008-2018

Methods: All data sources were searched for scholarly articles relating to exercise and cancer. One researcher evaluated the abstracts of all relevant articles and then selected those that seemed most relevant based on the content of the abstract. The selected articles were considered in their entirety, relevant findings were documented and reference lists were evaluated to provide an exhaustive review of the topic.

Results: Twenty unique searches were conducted across the databases. Eighty-three abstracts were reviewed while 35 relevant articles selected and analyzed in the systematic review.

Conclusion: It is clear that exercise provides several benefits to cancer patients regardless of stage or cancer of type. It is important that health care professionals are aware of the benefits exercise can provide as primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention and treatment of cancer.