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J Pain Symptom Manage. 1999 May;17(5):311-9.

Fatigue and quality of life in breast cancer patients undergoing autologous stem cell transplantation: a longitudinal comparative study.

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  • 1Behavioral Research Center, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, GA 30329-4251, USA.


As more individuals are being treated for cancer with high-dose therapy and autologous stem cell rescue (ASCR), there is growing interest in treatment side effects and their impact on quality of life. The primary aim of this study was to determine if the severity of fatigue and its impact on quality of life is significantly greater in women undergoing ASCR for breast cancer than in women of similar age with no history of cancer. A group of women being treated with ASCR for breast cancer (n = 31) and a group of women of similar age with no history of cancer (n = 49) participated in this study. Patients completed measures of fatigue and psychosocial functioning prior to treatment, midway through treatment, and toward the end of treatment. Healthy comparison subjects completed the same measures three separate times. Breast cancer patients undergoing ASCR reported significantly more frequent fatigue and more severe fatigue than women with no cancer history. In addition, fatigue had a significantly greater impact on daily functioning and quality of life in patients than in women with no cancer history. Fatigue during ASCR for breast cancer was related to both medical factors (i.e., time since transplant) and psychosocial factors. During ASCR for breast cancer, women experience fatigue which is worse than what is "normally" experienced and which interferes with daily functioning and quality of life. Future research should focus on identifying the biological correlates of fatigue, psychological and physiological mechanisms by which fatigue is produced, and interventions to alleviate fatigue.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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