Rationale: Fatigue is a frequent complaint of women with cancer. However, the incidence of fatigue has not been well studied, in particular gynaecological cancer, which despite its prevalence has received minimal investigation.
Goals of work: The study aims were (1) to explore the symptoms experienced in a gynaecological cancer population, primarily fatigue and (2) to determine the acceptability of a fatigue questionnaire for use in a longitudinal survey.
Patients and methods: Over the course of 1 month, women with gynaecological cancer attending a Regional Cancer Centre completed a demographic and symptom questionnaire and the Multidimensional Fatigue Symptom Inventory-Short Form (MFSI-SF).
Main results: Of the 32 individuals approached, 30 agreed to participate (mean age, 61 years; the most common treatment received was surgery followed by chemotherapy n=11; mean time from commencement of treatment, including surgery = 3 months). All participants completed the MFSI-SF. Tiredness was the most commonly reported symptom, experienced by 90% of subjects and the most frequently stated worst symptom, reported by 23.3%. Furthermore, 23 of 27 subjects reported that tiredness interfered completely with their daily living. The MFSI-SF mean total fatigue score was 14.4 (SD 15.9), ranging from -15 to 50. The possible total fatigue score ranges from -24 to 96.
Conclusion: Despite the heterogeneous nature of the group, all participants completed the MFSI-SF. The study suggests that fatigue could be a problem for this population group. Thus, a longitudinal survey using the MFSI-SF to investigate the phenomenon further would appear feasible and justified.