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Keywords:

  • fatigue;
  • quality of life;
  • ovarian carcinoma;
  • psychooncology

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Although fatigue is a commonly reported symptom in cancer patients it is rarely investigated, especially in patients with ovarian carcinoma. The main focus of the current study was to assess fatigue in these patients and to investigate the impact of fatigue and other clinical and psychosocial variables on their quality of life (QOL).

METHODS

Ninety-eight ovarian carcinoma survivors (average age of 57.4 ± 12.5 years) were included in the study. All women had received cancer therapy but had not been treated for at least 6 months. The average time elapsed since first diagnosis was 5.7 ± 5.5 years. Fatigue was measured with the Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory (MFI-20) and QOL was measured with the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy (FACT)-ovarian carcinoma part and the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Care Questionnaire, including the ovarian carcinoma module.

RESULTS

Thirty-two of 98 ovarian carcinoma patients (32.7%, 95% confidence interval, 23.5–42.9%) reported MFI-20 General Fatigue scores ≥ 12.0 and therefore could be characterized as suffering from fatigue. This group of patients had a significantly lower QOL, had higher scores of anxiety and depression, and perceived that they had less social support. In a multiple regression model, mental adjustment, social support, anxiety, and depression as well as fatigue were significant predictors of QOL (FACT-generic part total score) whereas clinical and sociodemographic variables were not.

CONCLUSION

A remarkably high proportion of ovarian carcinoma survivors suffered from fatigue. Because this symptom is a key predictor of QOL, it should be given more attention in aftercare programs. Cancer 2003;97:1564–72. © 2003 American Cancer Society.

DOI 10.1002/cncr.11253