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Patients' Experiences With Cancer-Related Fatigue: A Review and Synthesis of Qualitative Research

Jane A. Scott
Kathryn E. Lasch
Andrea M. Barsevick
Elisabeth Piault-Louis
ONF 2011, 38(3), E191-E203 DOI: 10.1188/11.ONF.E191-E203

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.

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