Fatigue Neoplasm Palliative care Therapeutics Exercise Psychotherapy
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Stone, P.; Candelmi, D. (Diego Ezequiel); Kandola, K.; et al. "Management of fatigue in patients with advanced cancer". Current Treatment Options in Oncology. 24 (2), 2023, 93 - 107
Opinion statementFatigue is a common and distressing symptom experienced by patients with cancer. It is most common in patients with locally advanced or metastatic incurable disease. It can have profound effects on quality-of-life and physical functioning. In addition to general supportive measures (directed at tackling contributory conditions and comorbidities), a variety of specific interventions have been developed which can be broadly categorised as physical therapies, psychological therapies or medication. There is some evidence that each of these approaches can have benefits in patients with earlier stage disease, those undergoing active treatment and in cancer survivors. The best evidence is for aerobic exercise, yoga, cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and psycho-educational interventions. Less strong evidence supports the use of medications such as methylphenidate or ginseng. In patients with advanced disease, it is likely that the mechanisms of fatigue or the factors contributing to fatigue maintenance may be different. Relatively fewer studies have been undertaken in this group and the evidence is correspondingly weaker. The authors recommend the cautious use of aerobic exercise (e.g. walking) in those who are still mobile. The authors advise considering the use of psycho-educational approaches or CBT in those patients who are able to engage in such forms of therapy. In patients near the end-of-life, the authors advise use of dexamethasone (short-term use) and other pharmacological treatments only on the basis of a clinical trial.