Document Type



Exercise Science


Prof. Upendra Hegde, Dept. of Medicine (UCHC)


Medicine and Health Sciences | Psychiatry and Psychology


Abstract of project: Introduction: Patients undergoing chemotherapy or immunotherapy for cancer tend to remain sedentary following diagnosis. They also suffer from low quality of life (QoL) and increased rates of depression/depressive symptomology. Recent studies indicate that physical activity (PA) may improve QoL and reduce depression rates. The exact patterns of PA in this subject population are unknown. This study investigates patterns of PA in cancer patients receiving treatment to understand how level of PA and types of PA relate to QoL and depressive symptomology. Methods: A cross-sectional survey study was conducted between June and July 2022 at the UConn Health Center’s Comprehensive Cancer Center. Patients receiving chemotherapy and immunotherapy were invited to take a survey intending to collect information about physical activity patterns, depressive symptomology, and QoL. Significance testing, binomial regression, and multiple linear regression were all conducted to study differences in QoL and depressive symptomology between various subgroups of patients. Results: 50 patients total responded to the survey. In sum, 36% of patients participated in aerobic and household activity; 13% participated in aerobic-only activity; 13% participated in a mixture of aerobic, resistance, and household activity. 34% of patients were either sedentary or lightly active. 66% were moderately to very active. A significant increase in QoL was observed in physically active patients compared to (near)-sedentary patients (p=0.006). Increased PA levels were associated with significantly superior physical, role, and social functioning. Fatigue and dyspnea were also significantly lower in physically active patients. Active patients had lower average CES-D scores, but moderate effect was observed (p>0.05, g=0.454). Conclusions: Cancer patients undergoing treatment showed varied patterns of activity with a preference for aerobic activity over resistance training; most patients were moderately to very active. PA could be a possible non-pharmacologic intervention to improve QoL and reduce depressive symptomology. However, more research with controlled trials is needed to investigate the relationship between PA, QoL, and depression symptoms in patients with cancer undergoing chemotherapy and immunotherapy.