Persistent fatigue as a late effect
Cancer treatment makes you very tired. Sometimes even adults who had cancer as a child still suffer from fatigue or what is referred to as chronic fatigue. The research group Paediatric Cancer Epidemiology Group at the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM) at the University of Bern has investigated how often this occurs and whether certain people are tired on a more frequent basis. Because the more doctors know about persistent fatigue, the better they can help those affected. A good remedy for this is exercise and talking to a psychotherapist.
The researchers invited adults who were treated for cancer as a child at Bern University Hospital to a special consultation session. Of these, 158 completed a questionnaire about their fatigue, the “Checklist Individual Strength”. “Strength” in the sense of “power”. Hospitals in many countries use this checklist to learn more about fatigue syndrome.
The result: of these adults, almost a fifth of them feel tired on a regular basis. There are certain groups of people who are affected more often, such as women and young adults or people who had a brain tumour as a child. Adults with hormone problems, such as hypofunction of the thyroid, can also suffer from “chronic fatigue”.
The conclusion from the study: doctors should always ask former childhood cancer patients about the issue of fatigue. And the survivors themselves should also tell their doctor about any symptoms of fatigue they may have. It is only with cooperation that something can be done about it.
For more information on the trial, take a look here.