The course of cancer related fatigue up to ten years in early breast cancer patients: What impact in clinical practice?

A. Fabi, C. Falcicchio, D. Giannarelli, G. Maggi, F. Cognetti, P. Pugliese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Little is known about the cancer related fatigue (CRF) along cancer course and risk factors that could predict CRF development and persistence in breast cancer (BC) survivors. This prospective study detected incidence, timing of onset, duration of CRF, impact on QoL and psychological distress. Seventy-eight early BC patients, undergoing chemotherapy (CT) followed or not by hormonal therapy were assessed for QoL and psychological distress by EORTC QLQC30 and HADs questionnaires. Fatigue was investigated with mix methods, structured interview and psychometric measures. A qualitative analysis was added to assess the behavioral pattern of CRF. Low fatigue levels were identified after surgery (9%), increasing during (49%) and at the end of CT (47%), maintaining after 1 year (31%) and declining up to ten years of follow-up. Prevalence of CRF was higher at the end of CT and lower at follow-up. At the end and after 1 and 2 years from CT, persistence of CRF was associated to anxiety in 20%, 11% and 5% and to depression in 15%, 10% and 5% respectively. A relationship between CRF and psychological distress was observed; patients presenting depression and anxiety before CT were at higher risk for fatigue onset at a later period. A relationship between fatigue and QoL was noted at the end of CT. Our study shows the fatigue timely trend in early BC patients from surgery, CT and follow-up. Identification of biological, psychological, social predictor factors related to fatigue could be helpful for early interventions in patients at higher risk of developing fatigue.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-52
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2017


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