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Follow-up study finds prolonged fatigue for those who had chemotherapy for breast cancer
Date:12/5/2011

uld, overtime, experience less fatigue and eventually see their fatigue levels diminish to equal the levels of women in the other two groups.

"Contrary to our expectations, fatigue did not diminish over time for patients in the chemotherapy group," said Jacobsen, who studies the behavioral and psychosocial aspects of cancer, cancer treatment, outcomes, and cancer survivorship. "In some cases, fatigue worsened, and that finding is not consistent with prior research."

Among the possible factors influencing the long-term or worsening fatigue included the potential for weight gain, common among patients who receive chemotherapy and who, according to the researchers, rarely return to their pre-treatment weight.

One variable affecting prolonged or worsening fatigue might involve supportive care, suggested the researchers.

"This finding has important implications for patient education and for fatigue monitoring during follow-up," concluded Jacobsen. "Our results should inform patient education efforts when patients receiving chemotherapy are often told that their fatigue will gradually diminish following treatment. Health care providers may want to communicate to their patients who have received chemotherapy that their fatigue may not improve over time and may worsen."

The researchers concluded that patients should be informed about interventions known to be effective against fatigue post-treatment, such as exercise and cognitive behavior therapy.


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Contact: Ferdie De Vega
Ferdinand.DeVega@moffitt.org
813-745-7858
H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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