Prevalence of fatigue among cancer patients receiving various anticancer therapies and its impact on quality of life: a cross-sectional study

Indian J Palliat Care. 2012 Sep;18(3):165-75. doi: 10.4103/0973-1075.105686.


Background: Fatigue is disabling and continuous phenomenon in cancer patients during and after various anticancer treatments which can continue for many years after treatment and definitely it has profound effect on Quality of Life (QOL). However, determining its severity is still underestimated among the cancer patients and also very few studies in the literature exist reporting on Cancer-Related Fatigue (CRF) among Indian population.

Aims: To find out the prevalence of rate of fatigue in cancer patient receiving various anti cancer therapies. To find out the relative impact of fatigue on QOL.

Materials and methods: This cross-sectional observational study included a total 121 cancer patients receiving radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and concurrent chemo-radiation with the age group of above 15 years who fulfilled the inclusion and exclusion criteria. All the patients were assessed for severity of fatigue using Brief Fatigue Inventory (BFI) and for QOL using FACT-G scale while they were receiving the anticancer therapies as an in-patient in the regional cancer centers in Madhya Pradesh, India.

Results: The severe fatigue was more prevalent in chemotherapy [58/59 (98.30%)], and concurrent chemo-radiation (33/42 (78.57%)) as compared to radiotherapy (Moderate-9/20 (45%) and Severe-9/20 (45%)). Moderate correlations were exhibited between fatigue due to radiotherapy and QOL (r = -0.71, P < 0.01), whereas weak correlation was found between fatigue due to chemotherapy and concurrent chemo-radiation (r = -0.361, P < 0.01 and r = -0.453, P < 0.01, respectively).

Conclusion: Severity of fatigue was found more after chemotherapy and concurrent chemo-radiation therapy while impact on QOL was more after the radiotherapy.

Keywords: Anticancer therapy-related fatigue; Brief fatigue inventory; Cancer-related fatigue; Concurrent chemo-radiotherapy; FACT-G; Quality of life.