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J Clin Oncol. 1999 Jan;17(1):253-61.

Hodgkin's disease survivors more fatigued than the general population.

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  • 1Department of Behavioral Sciences in Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway.



To estimate the level of fatigue and frequency of fatigue cases among Hodgkin's disease survivors (HDS) and compare them with normative data from the general population.


A cross-sectional follow-up study was done of 557 HDS (age range, 19 to 74 years) treated at the Norwegian Radium Hospital from 1971 to 1991. The sample was approached by mail, and their data were compared with normative data from 2,214 controls (age range, 19 to 74 years) representative of the general Norwegian population. Of the 557 HDS, 459 (82%) responded. The mean age (+/- SD) at the time of study was 44+/-12 years, and the mean observation time was 12+/-6 years. The Fatigue Questionnaire (11 items) measures physical and mental fatigue. Two systems of scoring were used, dichotomized (0, 0, 1, and 1) and Likert (0, 1, 2, and 3). Total fatigue (TF) constitutes the sum of all the Likert scores. Caseness was defined as a total dichotomized score of > or =4 and fatigue that lasted 6 months or longer.


The HDS had significantly higher levels of TF than the controls (14.3 v 12.2) (P < .001). Fatigue among the HDS equaled that of the controls in poorest health. More HDS (61%) than controls (31%) reported fatigue symptoms lasting 6 months or longer (P < .001). Fatigue cases were more frequent among HDS (men, 24%; women, 27%) than among the controls (men, 9%; women, 12%) (P < .001). Disease stage/substage IB/IIB predicted fatigue caseness (P = .03). No significant associations were found between treatment characteristics and fatigue.


Hodgkin's disease survivors are considerably more fatigued than the general population and report fatigue of a substantially longer duration.

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