Fatigue Can Linger for Years in Breast Cancer Patients

One-third of women treated for breast cancer report fatigue up to 10 years later

MONDAY, Jan. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Up to one-third of women treated for breast cancer report significant fatigue 5 to 10 years after diagnosis, according to a study in the Feb. 15 issue of the journal Cancer.

Julienne E. Bower, Ph.D., of the University of California at Los Angeles, and colleagues analyzed questionnaires completed by a sample of 763 breast cancer survivors at 1-5 and 5-10 years after diagnosis.

About 34% of the participants reported significant fatigue 5 to 10 years after diagnosis, the researchers found. And 21% reported fatigue at both assessment points, suggesting persistent symptoms.

Predictors of fatigue included depression, cardiovascular problems and the type of treatment they had received. Women treated with either radiation or chemotherapy alone fared slightly better in terms of fatigue compared to those treated with both radiation and chemotherapy, the researchers found.

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

Abstract
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