Cancer Related Fatigue
For some women, fatigue is the most difficult part of treatment--and sometimes of the months immediately after the completion of treatment. Cancer-related fatigue is hugely individual and variable. Some women just need to take a nap on Sunday afternoon and go to bed a bit earlier each evening, while others feel that they are continuously in a fog of heavy limbs, aching joints, and exhaustion. There have been many studies about this without real surprises or helpful conclusions. There are things that can make it all a bit easier, and I am including here the introduction and then a link to an article from The Annals of Oncology about this issue.
For most women, fatigue is not a debilitating problem, and a few things can help. Think of your energy as a bank account. That is, if you are going out late with friends or taking a long walk with the dog, you are making withdrawals. You will need to consider how to make an equal deposit: tea on the couch, sleeping later in the morning, whatever. One interesting study compared three approaches to afternoon fatigue: taking a half hour nap, having a cup of coffee, and taking a half hour walk. The women who walked felt best the rest of the day. Conclusion: although it may seem counter-intuitive, sometimes the best thing to do (especially as we head into spring) is to move your body: get outside and walk around the block.
Here is the article:
Cancer-related fatigue: a practical review
- M. P. O. Campos1,*†,
- B. J. Hassan2,†,
- R. Riechelmann3 and
- A. Del Giglio3,4
- 1Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami
- 2Department of Medicine, Miami Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Miami, USA
- 3Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology, ABC School of Medicine, Santo André
- 4Chairman of Hematology and Oncology, ABC School of Medicine and Department of Oncology, Albert Einstein Hospital, São Paulo, Brazil
- *Correspondence to: M. P. O. Campos, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, 1580 NW 10th Ave #607, Miami, FL 33136, USA. Tel: +1-305-200-6939; Fax: +1-305-243-7268; E-mail: email@example.com
- Received May 18, 2010.
- Revision received July 10, 2010.
- Accepted July 22, 2010.
Fatigue is an exceedingly common often treatable problem in cancer patients that profoundly affects all aspects of quality of life. Prevalence estimates have ranged from 50% to 90% of cancer patients overall. After addressing reversible or treatable contributing factors, such as hypothyroidism, anemia, sleep disturbance, pain, emotional distress, climacterium, medication adverse events, metabolic disturbances, or organ dysfunction such as heart failure, myopathy, and pulmonary fibrosis, patients may be screened with a brief fatigue self-assessment tool. All cancer patients should be screened regularly for fatigue. Those with moderate or severe fatigue may benefit from both pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic interventions, while mild fatigue that does not interfere with quality of life can be treated with nonpharmacologic measures alone. Physicians often have insufficient knowledge about fatigue and its treatments or underestimate the impact of fatigue on quality of life, while patients may consider it an unavoidable and untreatable side-effect and fear that reporting it may incite a change toward less aggressive cancer treatment. A practical review may therefore be useful to health care professionals in order to avoid the common barriers to its treatment that exist on the sides of both physicians and patients.