Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Access Thesis

Degree Name

MS in Physician Assistant Studies (PA)


Physician Assistant Studies

First Advisor

Kristen Lindvall, PA-C


Cancer is the 2nd leading cause of death globally, with the most common fatalities arising from lung, breast, and colorectal cancers. Patients will face a multitude of challenges not only from the cancer itself but from the anti-cancer therapies used during treatment. Current anti-cancer therapies include options such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted drug therapy, and immunotherapy. Treatment type is based on the staging, type of cancer, and if there are metastasis present. The side effects of anti-cancer therapies are vast; patients can experience drug resistances, chemotherapy side effects such as hair loss, nausea, and infection, as well as personal and financial burdens. Both cancer and its treatment options can cause emotional and physical taxation on not only the patient, but immediate and extended family members. Simply put, far-reaching and profound illnesses such as cancer affect all aspects of a patient's life. To both enhance and alleviate side effects of current anti-cancer therapies, research has turned its eyes to autophagy manipulation. Data shows that autophagy has a circumstantial relationship within cancer prevention and tumor cell survivability. Autophagy can act both as a tumor suppressor and as a source of cell death via apoptosis. With the use of autophagy inducing or inhibiting medications and short or long term lifestyle habits, providers can strive to alleviate some of the anti-cancer therapeutic side effects, reverse drug and chemotherapy resistances, and enhance treatment and recovery of patients who have been diagnosed with cancer.


SC 11.PAS.2020.Kraay.JD