Fatigue experience among cancer patients receiving chemotherapy


Bilal S.H Badr Naga and Manal I. Kassab

A systematic review conducted between January 2003 and October 2010 to describe what is known about strategies used to prevent Cancer-related fatigue (CRF); to determine factors that have been associated with treatment of cancer and to identify the risk factors associated with methods of treatment of cancer that causes fatigue. Pub Med database and reference lists of identified articles were used. Variations in research design and methods including sample characteristics, interventions and measurements used to reduce fatigue were recorded. Ten RCTs out of 20 studies were included. Eight studies showed that cancer patients experience fatigue during and post chemotherapy besides having physical, social, and psychological problems. Two studies found that patient using steroids has a significant increase in fatigue; while, two studies reported that CRF associated with lower quality of life regardless of chemotherapy regimens. Eight of ten studies showed regular committed exercise (walking or swimming) resulted in less fatigue among patient participating in exercise programs. Evidence from reviewed studies supports the inclusion of physical and psychological support for managing CRF and they are considered important factors for predicting changes in patients’ quality of life. They should be included in care plan of patients undergoing chemotherapy. Successful symptom management for patients can help maintain effective chemotherapy, physical/social wellbeing, and reduce emotional distress of patients.There is need to expanded nursing educational programmes regarding CRF assessment and possible management options to reduce severity of CRF and improve their quality of life.

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