A Spanish research has established that tiredness and physical fatigue are associated with recovery in more than 66 percent breast cancer patients, therefore understanding factors related with fatigue and how it can be alleviated optimises survivors’ recovery.
Researchers assessed fifty-nine female patients treated for breast cancer, who were followed-up one year after having clinically overcome the disease, on their psychological and physical condition as well as different aspects linked to the typical medical symptoms following a cancerous process like tiredness, pain, limited movement, and depression.
“Cancer-related fatigue is the symptom that most limits quality of life and is most common in patients that survive cancerous processes,” Manuel Arroyo, lead author of the study, said.
The results of the study show that the patients most affected by tiredness following treatment also suffer episodes of depression and body image deterioration, neck and shoulder pain, and limited arm movement, possibly due to the surgical intervention.
This is the first time that a team of researchers has associated sensory hypersensitivity, limited movement and certain psychological conditions with fatigue observed following cancer treatment, as compared to previous studies that have observed self-esteem- and body image-related disorders following the cancerous process.
“These findings should motivate patient support programmes which improve their psychological condition and offer resources that can reduce pain.
“If fatigue is not treated, patients can suffer it for years, having a serious physical, emotional, social and economic impact,” he added.
The study has been published in the European Journal of Cancer Care.