• cancer;
  • fatigue;
  • epidemiology;
  • prevalence;
  • human;
  • risk factors;
  • Swedish Twin Registry;
  • Swedish Cancer Registry



Estimates of the prevalence of cancer-related fatigue (CRF) are wide, and data suggest that fatigue is more prevalent among cancer patients than among the general population. However, most studies examining the prevalence of CRF have been hospital-based or clinic-based studies, which often are subject to bias.


Point prevalence and prevalence odds ratios of fatigue were estimated using data from a large, population-based cohort that was screened for fatigue and linked with national registry-based data about cancer. Prevalence odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were calculated using logistic regression with general estimating equations.


Approximately 23% of cancer registrants reported abnormal fatigue in the previous 6 months, 19% reported abnormal fatigue that lasted for at least 1 month, 14% reported abnormal fatigue that lasted at least 6 months, and 11% reported abnormal fatigue that lasted at least 6 months and caused significant functional impairment. Individuals who were listed in the cancer registry within the last 5 years were more likely to report experiencing fatigue than individuals who were not listed. There was an elevated prevalence of fatigue among those who were registered with carcinomas of the lung, uterine cervix, colon-rectum, ovaries, and prostate. Both women and men who were listed recently in the cancer registry were more likely to experience any level of fatigue than the comparison group. However, a greater proportion of women experienced fatigue relative to men.


A greater proportion of individuals who were listed in a national cancer registry reported experiencing fatigue compared with individuals in the general population. Cancer 2005. © 2005 American Cancer Society.