E. van der Wall
- Cancer-related fatigue: clinical practice versus practice guidelines
- Supportive Care in Cancer
- Volume | Issue number
- 19 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
This study investigated adherence to treatment guidelines on cancer-related anaemia and fatigue (CRA/CRF) and factors influencing the choice of intervention.
In this prospective, observational study, 136 cancer patients being treated with chemotherapy in a large community hospital completed a questionnaire at consecutive
outpatient visits assessing fatigue (the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy—Fatigue) and fatigue-related counselling and advice received. Data on administration of chemotherapy and use of epoetin or blood transfusions were abstracted from the medical records.
Fifty-three percent of patients with severe anaemia (Hb<10 g/dl) and 6% of patients with less severe anaemia (Hb levels 10-12 g/dl) received treatment (epoetin and/or blood transfusions). Half of the patients with less severe anaemia reported clinically relevant levels of fatigue. More than 50% of all patients received fatigue-related counselling, primarily at the start of chemotherapy. Most counselling was directed at energy conservation. Fatigue was not associated significantly with the use of epoetin or blood transfusion. Patients receiving palliative treatment (17%), male patients (16%) and patients with a low Hb level (<6.2 g/dl, 38%) were treated significantly more often with epoetin.
In daily clinical practice, guidelines concerning the use of epoetin or blood transfusion in severe CRA are adhered to in about half of the cases. In patients with less severe anaemia, the level of fatigue did not play a significant role in the use of epoetin. According to current guidelines, counselling on CRF should be directed primarily at activity enhancement. However, only a minority of patients receive such counselling.
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