Purpose/Objectives: To systematically review published qualitative reports of descriptions of fatigue by patients with cancer and how cancer-related fatigue (CF) affects their lives.
Data Sources: MEDLINE®, CANCERLIT®, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature.
Data Synthesis: Two researchers conducted independent reviews of 667 patient quotes found in 154 articles published from 1996-2009 to identify concepts and language used to describe CF.
Conclusions: CF is more intense than the tiredness patients recalled from before diagnosis or treatment. Published patient quotes fail to adjudicate whether CF should be approached as a single symptom or a more complex symptom cluster.
Implications for Nursing: Systematic study of patients with different cancer types and stages is needed to identify effective, valid, and reliable self-reported assessments of CF for clinical practice and trials.