Clinically significant fatigue was more common after surgery for gynecologic cancers among women with depressive symptoms or comorbidities. These results, from a prospective cohort study, were published in Cancer.

Women with newly diagnosed endometrial (181) or ovarian (81) cancers who had no recurrence within 1 year after completing treatment, were recruited. The participants were assessed at 6 and 12 months by the Fatigue Assessment Scale and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale.

Following surgery, 48% of patients experienced clinically significant fatigue, which reduced to 39% 1 year after surgery.

The investigators observed 6 patterns of fatigue over time. Most women reporting fatigue experienced a consistent low level (37%) followed by those who had a consistent high level of fatigue (25%). The remaining patients reported high levels which resolved (18%), a new onset of fatigue (10%), fluctuating fatigue (6%), and incidental fatigue (5%).


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Higher rates of fatigue at 12 months were observed among patients who reported fatigue after surgery (odd’s ratio [OR], 6.08; 95% CI, 2.82-13.11; P <.001), who experienced depressive symptoms (OR, 3.36; 95% CI, 1.08-10.65; P =.039), and who had 2 or more comorbidities (OR, 2.62; 95% CI, 1.16-5.91; P =.022) compared with women not reporting these symptoms.

A possible limitation of this study was the low response rate at 1 year (69%). It is possible that nonrespondents were negatively impacted by fatigue and were unable to participate.

The study authors concluded that clinically significant fatigue was relatively common among women with gynecologic cancers following treatment completion. Further studies are needed to explore possible interventions.

Reference

Poort H, de Rooij BH, Uno H, et al. Patterns and predictors of cancer-related fatigue in ovarian and endometrial cancers: 1-year longitudinal study. Cancer. 2020;126:3526-3533. doi:10.1002/cncr.32927