Background: Chemotherapy leads to various symptoms and psychological distress, which contribute to a significant decrease in the quality of life of the patients.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to identify changes and interrelationships in the fatigue-depression-anxiety symptom cluster and quality of life during the cancer care trajectory in women with breast cancer.
Methods: Fifty women participated in the study and completed questionnaires at 3 different times: prechemotherapy, postchemotherapy, and 6 months after the completion of chemotherapy. The assessment tools were the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Fatigue Scale, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Breast Cancer version 4 Scale. Data were analyzed using descriptive and repeated-measures analysis of variance statistics.
Results: A significant increase in fatigue (F = 41.95, P < .001) and psychological distress (F = 26.55, P < .001) from prechemotherapy to postchemotherapy was noted. Improvement was observed 6 months after the completion of chemotherapy. A positive or negative change in fatigue was associated with the same in psychological distress. Quality of life (F = 65.22, P < .001) also showed similar change patterns as observed with fatigue and psychological distress. Fatigue had a greater impact on quality of life at postchemotherapy, but psychological distress had a greater impact at prechemotherapy and at the 6-month follow-up.
Conclusion: These results suggest that chemotherapy is highly associated with the fatigue-depression-anxiety symptom cluster and quality of life in women with breast cancer.
Implications for practice: Nursing intervention is needed to relieve the intensity of the fatigue-depression-anxiety symptom cluster and thus improve the quality of life of patients undergoing chemotherapy from before treatment to follow-up.