, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 1-18

Off-Treatment Fatigue in Breast Cancer Survivors: A Controlled Comparison

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Abstract

Fatigue is a common and distressing symptom following cancer treatment. Research examining “off-treatment” fatigue has been weakened by limited assessments of fatigue and lack of suitable comparison groups. The extent of off-treatment fatigue following treatment for breast cancer (BC) was examined. Women with BC (n = 88; mean, 28 months posttreatment) and age-matched women (n = 88) with benign breast problems (BBP), completed a set of fatigue questionnaires at an Initial assessment and a 4-month Follow-up assessment. The BC group reported more fatigue, more weakness, and less vitality relative to the BBP group at both assessments. No relationship was found in the BC group between fatigue and extent of treatment or time since treatment completion. While the results document the existence of off-treatment fatigue following BC, elucidation of the psychobiological processes underlying this symptom and development of clinical management strategies remain as challenges for future research.