, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 1761-1771
Date: 03 Mar 2013

The prevalence and severity of fatigue in men with prostate cancer: a systematic review of the literature

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Abstract

Background

Cancer-related fatigue is a significant clinical problem and is a symptom commonly experienced by patients with differing cancer types during and following treatment. It is a distressing symptom which interferes with functioning in daily life. However, much less is known about the prevalence and severity of fatigue in prostate cancer when compared to other cancer types, such as breast cancer.

Methods

A systematic review was conducted to appraise the prevalence and severity of cancer-related fatigue in prostate cancer. Systematic searches of published quantitative research relating to the prevalence and severity of fatigue were conducted using databases, including Medline, PsychINFO, CINAHL and ISI Web of Knowledge (January 2012). Included papers measured the prevalence or severity of prostate-cancer-related fatigue and differentiated fatigue outcomes (prevalence, severity) between treatment modalities.

Results

Nineteen studies were eligible for the review, of which 17 were cross-sectional and 2 longitudinal. Findings suggest that the prevalence of any fatigue is as high as 74 %, whilst chronic fatigue prevalence was highest (39 %) when hormone therapy was combined with radiotherapy. Fatigue severity is reported as worse in hormone therapy and treatment combining hormone therapy and radiotherapy.

Conclusions

Fatigue is a common symptom for men with prostate cancer, particularly those prescribed hormone therapy. A wide variety of tools were used to measure fatigue prevalence and severity, which made comparisons across studies difficult. The review is limited by methodological shortcomings in the studies included.