Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is the most common symptom for patients with cancer. However, data on its prevalence in the posttreatment period is limited.
Using a self-administered mail-based questionnaire, these researchers sought to measure occurrence of CRF in three cohorts (16 to 18 months posttreatment, 2 to 3 years posttreatment, and 5 to 6 years posttreatment) of disease-free survivors of breast, prostate, or colorectal cancer.
The study generated a 63% response rate (2,294 questionnaire packages were returned). Twenty-nine percent of respondents reported significant fatigue, although fatigue levels did not differ between time cohorts.
Reports of fatigue were significantly higher in survivors of breast or colorectal cancer compared with survivors of prostate cancer.
The researchers conclude that approximately one-third of cancer survivors experience fatigue for up to 6 years after treatment. Clinicians should be aware that fatigue can be a chronic condition, and should routinely assess for it.
Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is the most prevalent and distressing symptom among cancer patients and survivors. However, research on its prevalence and related disability in the post-treatment survivorship period remains limited.