Cancer patients are often very tired, a bone-weary fatigue that doesn’t get better with rest. Fatigue is the most common complaint from patients during chemotherapy. However, a recent study found that one in four patients are already severely fatigued before treatment ever begins.
Severe fatigue was most common in patients with gastrointestinal cancer, where almost one in three were fatigued at diagnosis.
Contributing to initial serious fatigue were:
- Lack of physical activity
- Poor sleep and rest patterns during the day and night
- Fatigue existing a year before diagnosis
Dr. M.M. Goedendorp and her colleagues at the Expert Centre for Chronic Fatigue in Nijmegan, The Netherlands, concluded,
Relatively large numbers of cancer patients already experience severe fatigue before initiation of treatment, varying between 14–28%. The factors that contributed to severe fatigue at this stage were physical activity, depressive mood, impaired sleep and rest, and fatigue 1 year before diagnosis.
SOURCE: Goedendorp et al.,British Journal of Cancer, published online October 21, 2008.