Carolyn Vachani, RN, MSN, AOCN
The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: June 23, 2008
Cancer-related fatigue is unfortunately a very common problem with few to no effective solutions. This study looked to evaluate rates of fatigue and how they interfere with activities of daily living (ADLs) (such as work, bathing, dressing, walking) in 700 patients. Assessment of fatigue was performed one week after the first cycle of chemotherapy and one week after the second cycle.
Researchers found that fatigue was present as soon as 1 week after the first chemotherapy cycle (this was the first time point they assessed). Fatigue interfered significantly with many essential ADLs, and most significantly with walking, completing household chores, and running errands. Of the 11 ADLs researchers asked about, 9 were reported to be affected after the first cycle and 10 after the second cycle of chemotherapy.
Although this study demonstrated that fatigue affects ADLs, there was no baseline assessment of fatigue, and the testing period was quite short. The study adds to the body of knowledge regarding fatigue, but does not offer any interventions for relief.