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THURSDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Too few cancer patients receive care for debilitating fatigue that can last for months or even years after treatment, a new study finds.
"Fatigue is a factor that not only significantly diminishes quality of life but is also associated with reduced survival," study author Dr. Andrea Cheville, a physiatrist with the Mayo Clinic Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, said in a clinic news release.
The study, published in the January issue of the journal Supportive Care in Cancer, included 160 lung, breast, colon and prostate cancer patients who had moderate to severe fatigue. They were asked if their oncology teams had mentioned any of the cancer fatigue treatments recommended by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, such as counseling, medications and getting more exercise.
Only 10 percent of patients said they were told to get more exercise or to try other non-medication ways of reducing fatigue. More than 35 percent of the patients were offered sleep medications, even though drugs have been shown to be the least effective way to treat fatigue in cancer patients.
The researchers also found that the type of cancer was a factor in whether patients received treatment for fatigue. Only 15 percent of colon cancer patients and 17 percent of prostate cancer patients received treatment for fatigue, while 48 percent of breast cancer patients were told about counseling.
"We found the vast majority of patients were not engaging in behavioral practices that could reduce fatigue and potentially enhance quality of life," Cheville said. "And almost a third reported napping during the day, which can actually worsen fatigue."
"We could be doing a much better job addressing fatigue, with more reliable instruction for patients and offering treatments that have been shown to work," she said.
Oncologists, however, may not have the time or resources to deal with patients' quality-of-life issues. There may be a need for specialists who focus on helping cancer patients deal with issues such as fatigue, depression and pain, the researchers said.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about fatigue in cancer patients.
SOURCE: Mayo Clinic, news release, Dec. 18, 2012
Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
Thu Jan 03, 2013 02:34 AM
Thu Jan 03, 2013 04:10 AM
My husband was never told about the extent of pain and fatigue from receiving radiation treatment for prostate cancer. He said had he known the side effects, he probably would have opted for no treatment. Fatigue is still a big issue that his primary care physician gives him prescriptions for. He still suffers from generalized pain which his oncologist treats. He was under the treatment of a pain center some years ago. Pain caused by radiation scatter destroying tissue.
Thu Jan 03, 2013 07:56 AM
I suffer from Fatigue but gp or doctors dont recognise it and just think im lazy but actualy i am exhausted and in pain. I had a Mastectomy in 2007 went through chemotherapy & radiotherapy i have very bad burnt skin and muscle damage because of it. Radiation traveled from the chest to the bottom of my ribs. I am constantly crippled in pain. If there is anyone who could help i would be gratefull as i am actualy just sat here in agony. No one tells you what its like after treatment otherwise half the population wouldnt go through with the treatment.
Thu Jan 03, 2013 01:13 PM
son has cancer. took radiation and chemo. is always tired. just lays on couch or bed. there is much pain left from the damage done by the radiation. Dr. has just now prescribed physical therapy. he will start today. we had to ask for it. one of your other comments said if people knew the side affects they would not take the chemo & radiation. She was so right. You get longer life but there is no quality of life.
Thu Jan 03, 2013 09:53 PM
Sat Jan 05, 2013 04:30 AM
I'm a stage 4 ovarian cancer survivor 5.5 yrs. Suffered from severe fatigue. Found these things help:
1. Take your energy to it's limits, then stop and rest as long as necessary.
2. Rest up if you have something you really want to do. Rest as long as necessary afterward.
3. Don't stop doing what's important to you.
4. It's okay to rest. Sleep is great. If you can't, rest is also good.
5. After treatment it's difficult not to be proactive and doing something. I found that taking pharmaceutical grade vitamins and antioxidants from Usana helped me turn that corner in my energy levels.
6. Exercise is my friend.
7. Don't give up. Life is good.
Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:13 AM
arifa is correct
No one tells you what its like after treatment otherwise half the population wouldnt go through with the treatment.
They give you a line of crap about what you need and then what?
I have 5 years of 24 hour a day pain and severe fatigue. I have learned that the worst possible course of treatment for pain and fatigue is to ask a doctor for help. Their expensive vitamins and supplements only compound the problems.
I am told that I am lucky to be alive??? This is alive? After cancer is there nothing more to life other than looking for ways to pay for doctors who have nothing to offer other than a minimal life support that offers nothing more than a continuation of support to the medical community.
I would like to be able to use what little life I have for something other than frequent trips to the doctor costing $180 just to hear I don't know.
For a period of nearly 2 years I quit seeing doctors and was constantly bombarded with calls and letters. I get stupid crap like we can't help you if you don't come see us. So I go see them and all I can get is the same I don't know.
And I'm suppose to be thankful they saved my life?
Ha Ha very funny.
Thu Feb 28, 2013 04:43 PM
I had very few side effects from both chemo, radiation and 3-surgeries. The after effects i wasn't prepared for. The forgetfulness, loss of taste and smell, fatigue, etc. I am greatful to be alive after being diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in march of 2010. So far i have been clean for 1 1/ years. I'll tell you though, at times it is still a bitch to even get out of bed some mornings yet you have too in order to have any quality of life.
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