Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is a complex multidimensional symptom. Identifying the fatigue dimension that may be most bothersome can guide in the development of individualized management strategies.
The purpose of this article is to describe the multidimensional fatigue experience of men with prostate cancer.
Data for this study were obtained from an ongoing descriptive longitudinal study at the National Institutes of Health, involving men diagnosed with nonmetastatic prostate cancer scheduled to receive external beam radiation therapy. Data were analyzed at 7 time points: baseline, before treatment initiation (T1), treatment midpoint (T2), treatment completion (T3), and 1 month (T4), 3 months (T5), 6 months (T6), and 12 months (T7) after treatment completion. Study data were obtained from medical records and self-report (fatigue, depressive symptoms, and sleep disturbance) questionnaires.
Scores for total fatigue peaked at T2 and remained significantly different from baseline at T3. After T3, total fatigue scores were not significantly different from baseline. Affective fatigue had the highest scores (worst fatigue) reported during treatment, sensory fatigue scores were highest from T4 to T6, and cognitive fatigue scores were highest at T7. Affective and sensory fatigue scores peaked at T2, whereas behavioral and cognitive fatigue scores peaked at T3.
Independent changes in specific dimensions of CRF were observed during and post treatment.
Implications for Practice
Understanding the specific dimensions of CRF and how they change during and post treatment can help guide clinicians to recommend targeted and personalized management strategies.