A prospective study evaluating the relationship between fatigue and patient satisfaction in advanced cancer
R. D. Levin, M. Daehler, C. G. Lis, D. Gupta, T. Wodek, J. F. Grutsch, J. Granick, S. Williams, D. L. Citrin and R. Neelam
Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Zion, IL
Background: Fatigue is the most common and disabling symptoms experienced by cancer patients. No study has prospectively quantified the relationship between fatigue and patient satisfaction (PS) in advanced cancer. We therefore assessed this relationship before the start of chemotherapy and at 3 and 6 months after treatment at our integrative cancer treatment center.
Methods: 294 cancer patients treated at Cancer Treatment Centers of America between 04/01 and 11/04. Of 954 patients at baseline, only 294 were available for follow-up at 6 months. Fatigue was measured using the EORTC QLQ-C30 3-item fatigue subscale. Scores ranged from 0–100, higher scores indicating more fatigue. PS was measured using Ferrans & Powers Quality of Life Index (QLI). Scores ranged from 0–30, higher scores indicating better QoL. The mean fatigue scores were compared using ANOVA across the 3 time periods at baseline, 3 and 6 months. The relationship between fatigue and QLI was evaluated using multiple linear regression at all 3 time points.
Results: Of 294 patients, 106 were males and 188 females. 91 had breast ca, 52 colorectal, 43 lung, 25 pancreas, 13 prostate, and 70 had other cancers. 112 were newly diagnosed and 182 had received prior treatment elsewhere. The mean fatigue scores at baseline, 3 and 6 months were 43.6, 37.3, and 41.8 respectively; the scores at baseline and 3 months were significantly different (p = .009). At baseline, after controlling for age, gender, prior treatment history, and tumor stage at diagnosis, every 10 unit increase in fatigue was significantly associated with 1.3 units decrease in QLI health subscale. Similarly at 3 and 6 months after treatment, every 10 unit increase in fatigue was significantly associated with 1.2 and 1.4 units decrease in QLI health subscale.
Conclusions: In our study, we found that fatigue is a strong correlate of PS independent of the effects of age, gender, prior treatment history and tumor stage at diagnosis during the first 6 months of treatment. Interestingly, fatigue showed a significant improvement after 3 months of treatment and returned back to baseline levels at 6 months. This finding needs to be investigated further to evaluate the impact of integrative cancer care services on PS.