Fatigue is probably the most common symptom affecting sufferers of cancer and cancer treatments. The aim of this study was to gain an initial understanding of the impact of fatigue on Chinese cancer patients in Hong Kong. Twenty-two chemotherapy patients and 15 radiotherapy patients completed semistructured interviews by the end of the 2nd week after commencement of their treatment. Chemotherapy patients reported greater severity of fatigue than did radiotherapy patients. Six themes emerged from the study's qualitative data that illustrated the impact of fatigue on patients' lives. These themes were: work and role functioning, daily routines, social life, mental ability, emotional status, and appetite and oral intake. The findings are discussed within the Chinese cultural context, and the need for regular assessment of fatigue in cancer patients is suggested.
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