Fatigue in long-term breast carcinoma survivors

A longitudinal investigation

Authors

  • Julienne E. Bower Ph.D.,

    Corresponding author
    1. Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, Semel Institute for Neuroscience, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
    2. Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
    3. Division of Cancer Prevention and Control Research, Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
    • 300 UCLA Medical Plaza, Room 3306, Box 957076, Los Angeles, CA 90095-7076
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    • Fax: (310) 794-9247

  • Patricia A. Ganz M.D.,

    1. Division of Cancer Prevention and Control Research, Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
    2. Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
    3. Department of Health Services, School of Public Health, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
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  • Katherine A. Desmond M.S.,

    1. Statistical Consultant, Culver City, California
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  • Coen Bernaards Ph.D.,

    1. Oncology Biostatistics, Genentech, South San Francisco, California
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  • Julia H. Rowland Ph.D.,

    1. Office of Cancer Survivorship, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland
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  • Beth E. Meyerowitz Ph.D.,

    1. Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
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  • Thomas R. Belin Ph.D.

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
    2. Division of Cancer Prevention and Control Research, Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
    3. Department of Biostatistics, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
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Abstract

BACKGROUND

A longitudinal study was designed to evaluate the prevalence, persistence, and predictors of posttreatment fatigue in breast carcinoma survivors.

METHODS

A sample of 763 breast carcinoma survivors completed questionnaires at 1–5 and 5–10 years after diagnosis, including the RAND 36-item Health Survey, Center for Epidemiological Studies – Depression scale (CES-D), Breast Cancer Prevention Trial Symptom Checklist, and demographic and treatment-related measures.

RESULTS

Approximately 34% of study participants reported significant fatigue at 5–10 years after diagnosis, which is consistent with prevalence estimates obtained at 1–5 years after diagnosis. Approximately 21% reported fatigue at both assessment points, indicating a more persistent symptom profile. Longitudinal predictors of fatigue included depression, cardiovascular problems, and type of treatment received. Women treated with either radiation or chemotherapy alone showed a small improvement in fatigue compared with those treated with both radiation and chemotherapy.

CONCLUSIONS

Fatigue continues to be a problem for breast carcinoma survivors many years after cancer diagnosis, with 21% reporting persistent problems with fatigue. Several factors that may contribute to long-term fatigue are amenable to intervention, including depression and comorbid medical conditions. Cancer 2006. © 2006 American Cancer Society.

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