British Journal of Community Nursing, Vol. 15, Iss. 5, 01 May 2010, pp 214 - 219
Fatigue is a common and distressing symptom that is a concern for cancer patients, their families, carers and health professionals. Cancer-related fatigue is a multidimensional phenomenon that is self-perceived and includes physical, emotional, cognitive and behavioural components. It can be unrelenting, disrupts daily life, fosters helplessness and may culminate in despair. The many causes of cancer-related fatigue stem from the disease itself, the cancer treatments and their side effects. The conclusion from a recent critical review of research evidence is that physical exercise and the treatment of underlying problems, such as anaemia or clinical depression, are effective interventions. However, a wide range of practical interventions and complementary therapies are likely to be helpful such as: acupressure and acupuncture, stress management and relaxation, energy conservation measures, anticipatory guidance and preparatory information, and attention-restoring activities. This article will provide a comprehensive review of current knowledge surrounding cancer-related fatigue and the nursing interventions that can be implemented in community practice.