Fatigue has been reported as the most frequently occurring symptom in cancer patients receiving chemoradiotherapy. The purpose of the current descriptive study was to explore the pattern, associated factors, and experience of fatigue in Chinese cancer patients receiving radiotherapy. Twenty-seven subjects from an out patient clinic of a university hospital in Hong Kong participated in the study. They were asked to complete three times daily (morning, afternoon and evening) a diary over a period of two weeks from the beginning of their therapy. The diary incorporated a 10-cm horizontal visual analogue scale (VAS) for measuring fatigue intensity. Further, the Chinese version of the fatigue subscale of the Profile of Mood States was completed before the radiotherapy, at the end of the first week post-treatment, and at the end of the second week. Most patients (44-80.8%) undergoing radiotherapy in this study experienced fatigue at some point during their treatment. The pattern of fatigue was that of repeated curves, with higher levels observed in the afternoons and evenings, and at the end of the first week or the end of the second week. Qualitative data indicated the universal sensations of fatigue and also some culturally specific descriptors. A variety of methods were used by the patients to cope with their fatigue but the effects of such methods were not always positive. It is important for clinical practice to assess the individual patterns and perceptions of fatigue, identify those patients at risk for developing fatigue and initiate interventions to combat fatigue.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Professions(all)