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Breast cancer survivors more fatigued

Breast cancer survivors more fatigued
10th September 2007

Breast cancer survivors experience more fatigue than healthy women, according to new research, which suggests that chemotherapy may be to blame for symptoms of tiredness.

A team led by Dr Paul Jacobsen from the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida followed 221 women with non-metastatic (early stage) breast cancer treated with either radiography or a combination of chemotherapy and radiography along with a control group of 221 healthy women at two, four, and six months after treatment.

Though they expected to find variation in fatigue scores immediately after treatment, the researchers were surprised to discover that breast cancer patients had a significantly greater number of days with reported fatigue even six months after the conclusion of their treatment.

Dr Jacobsen said follow-up research would "explore whether interventions administered during or at the end of treatment are effective in preventing or limiting fatigue in the post-treatment period".

Previous studies have suggested that exercise can reduce fatigue in cancer patients.