Breast Cancer Survivors Report Fatigue 10 Years After Diagnosis
More than one-third of breast cancer survivors report ongoing fatigue problems up to 10 years after their initial diagnosis, according to a study published on Monday in the online edition of Cancer, Reuters/Washington Times reports (Reuters/Washington Times, 1/9).
For the study, researchers from the University of California-Los Angeles asked 763 breast cancer survivors about their quality of life at one to five years and at five to 10 years after diagnosis. About 34% of those surveyed reported significant fatigue at five to 10 years, while about 21% of survivors reported fatigue during both assessment periods, the Newark Star-Ledger reports.
Researchers defined fatigue as feelings of tiredness, weakness or lack of energy (Stewart, Newark Star-Ledger, 1/9).
The study finds that women who reported depression or cardiovascular problems were more likely to report fatigue (Reuters/Washington Times, 1/9). In addition, women who had been treated with a combination of radiation and chemotherapy were more likely to report fatigue than those who had been treated with radiation or chemotherapy alone.
Lead author Julie Bower said, "Fatigue is recognized as one of the most common and distressing side effects of cancer and its treatment, and it can significantly impact a woman's quality of life" (Newark Star-Ledger, 1/9). She added, "The study also found that improvements in fatigue can be possible even up to 10 years after diagnosis" (Reuters/Washington Times, 1/9).
Study co-author Patricia Gantz, director of cancer prevention and control research at the UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center, said, "For many people, they cannot multitask. They have to limit their energy, and these were once high-functioning women who could do many things at the same time."
Bower said that more studies with healthy peer groups as comparison are needed to assess women before, during and after treatment to determine whether fatigue is linked to cancer diagnosis and treatment or simply to aging (Newark Star-Ledger, 1/9).
The study is available online.