Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 20, Issue 8, pp 1901–1909 | Cite as

Fatigue after treatment in breast cancer survivors: prevalence, determinants and impact on health-related quality of life

  • Ana Claudia Garabeli Cavalli KluthcovskyEmail author
  • Almir Antonio Urbanetz
  • Denise Siqueira de Carvalho
  • Eliane Mara Cesario Pereira Maluf
  • Geovana Cristina Schlickmann Sylvestre
  • Sergio Bruno Bonatto Hatschbach
Original Article



Fatigue is a phenomenon that may persist for years after completion of adjuvant therapy, and is one of the most frequent symptoms associated with breast cancer survivors. The purposes of this study were to investigate the occurrence of fatigue in disease-free breast cancer survivors after treatment, to identify variables associated with fatigue, and to evaluate the impact of fatigue on health-related quality of life.


A cross-sectional study was conducted on 202 consecutive women diagnosed with in-situ to Stage III breast cancer attending in outpatient facilities of two large hospitals, one year or more after diagnosis. They completed the Piper Fatigue Scale-Revised and the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer QLQ-C30. Multiple logistic regression models were used to identify predictive factors associated with fatigue. EORTC QLQC-30 scores for fatigued survivors were compared to non-fatigued survivors.


The prevalence of fatigue reported by the breast cancer survivors was 37.6%. Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that predictive factors for fatigue included younger age (odds ratio [OR]=2.23, 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.11–4.45, p = 0.024); presence of pain (OR = 3.87, 95% CI = 1.88-7.98, p = 0.000); dyspnea (OR = 3.72, 95% CI = 1.46–9.50, p = 0.006); insomnia (OR = 2.40, 95% CI = 1.19–4.86, p = 0.015); and nausea and vomiting (OR = 12.25, 95% CI = 1.18–126.75, p = 0.036). Fatigued women had poorer health-related quality of life than non-fatigued women in all domains.


Our results suggest that many disease-free breast cancer survivors after treatment experienced fatigue that compromises their health-related quality of life.


Breast cancer Fatigue Quality of life Survivors Predictors Prevalence 



We thank all the women who took part in this research.

Conflicts of interest

The authors of this study did not receive any financial support for this study and declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana Claudia Garabeli Cavalli Kluthcovsky
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Almir Antonio Urbanetz
    • 3
  • Denise Siqueira de Carvalho
    • 4
  • Eliane Mara Cesario Pereira Maluf
    • 4
  • Geovana Cristina Schlickmann Sylvestre
    • 5
  • Sergio Bruno Bonatto Hatschbach
    • 5
  1. 1.Universidade Federal do Paraná, BrazilCuritibaBrazil
  2. 2.Departament of Medicine, Campus UvaranasUniversidade Estadual de Ponta GrossaPonta GrossaBrazil
  3. 3.Department of Gynecology and ObstetricsUniversidade Federal do ParanáCuritibaBrazil
  4. 4.Department of Community HealthUniversidade Federal do ParanáCuritibaBrazil
  5. 5.Department of Oncology GynecologyErasto Gaertner HospitalCuritibaBrazil

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