Pascal Jean-Pierre, PhD, Department of Radiation Oncology, Department of Family Medicine, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York, USA.
Gary Morrow, PhD, MS, Department of Radiation Oncology, Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York, USA.
Fatigue due to cancer and its treatments is a highly prevalent and debilitating symptom experienced by many patients. This symptom is often present prior to a pathologically confirmed diagnosis of cancer and can be experienced both during and for considerable periods after treatment. Oncology professionals are becoming more cognizant of the impact of cancer-related fatigue on key aspects of patients’ psychosocial performance, cognitive functioning, and overall quality of life. This paper discusses the importance of cancer-related fatigue, the challenges involved in assessing this debilitating symptom among cancer patients, and the influence of researchers’ conceptualization of this symptom on the characteristics of the measures developed to assess it. Strategies to facilitate differential diagnosis of cancer-related fatigue are also presented and discussed.
Key words: cancer-related fatigue, assessment, measurement dimension, older adults, quality of life.