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Perception, magnitude, and implications of cancer-related fatigue in breast cancer survivors: Study from a developing country


1 Department of Medical Oncology, Max Institute of Cancer Care, Max Super Specialty Hospital, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Clinical Research, Max Institute of Cancer Care, Max Super Specialty Hospital, New Delhi, India
3 Department of Patient Care Services, Patient Support Group, Max Institute of Cancer Care, Max Super Specialty Hospital, Saket, New Delhi, India
4 Department of Surgical Oncology, Max Institute of Cancer Care, Max Super Specialty Hospital, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Alok Gupta,
Max Institute of Cancer Care, Max Super Specialty Hospital, Saket, New Delhi 110 017
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jcrt.JCRT_151_19

Background: We have analyzed perceptions, magnitude, interventions adopted, and overall implications of cancer-related fatigue (CRF) in breast cancer survivors (BCSs). Methodology: BCSs who attended follow-up clinic at our institute between January and June 2018 were asked to fill a questionnaire focused on assessing an individual's perception, severity, potential causes, implications on quality of life, and measures taken to deal with CRF. Results: Sixty-five patients were included. Fifty-four (83%) had undergone surgery, 59 (91%) chemotherapy, 43 (66%) radiation therapy, and 36 (55%) hormonal/targeted therapy. Sixty-two (95%) patients experienced any grade CRF. Fifty-five (85%) patients experienced moderate to severe CRF affecting work (58%) and activities of daily living (27%). CRF was perceived as generalized weakness by 54 (83%) patients, diminished concentration/attention span by 24 (37%) patients, decreased motivation and interest in usual activities by 29 (45%) patients, and emotional labiality by 16 (25%) patients. Fifty-six patients (86%) believed that fatigue was due to the effect of cancer treatment on the body, while only 8 (12%) attributed it to underlying cancer. CRF had negative impact on mood, daily activities, interpersonal relationships, and professional work in 40 (62%), 39 (60%), 13 (20%), and 10 (15%) patients, respectively. Measures taken to overcome CRF were increased physical exercise, psychosocial interventions, mind–body interventions, and pharmacological interventions in 32 (49%), 8 (12%), 28 (43), and 17 (26%) patients, respectively. Thirty-nine (60%) patients reported persistence of CRF after completion of treatment while it took up to 6 months, 6–12 months, and more than 12 months for resolution of CRF in 13, 10, and 3 patients, respectively. Conclusion: Development and persistence of CRF remains a major health concern, and current interventions are not able to mitigate this problem. Further research in this field is warranted.


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    -  Hussain SM
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