Studying Nonpharmacological Interventions for Fatigue

Russell K. Portenoy and Eduardo Bruera

in Issues in Palliative Care Research

Published in print September 2003 | ISBN: 9780195130652
Published online November 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199999842 | DOI:
Studying Nonpharmacological Interventions for Fatigue

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Many doctors are frustrated by the problem of chronic fatigue. Over the years, numerous attempts have been made to measure it, but this has always proved elusive. Chronic fatigue is common, and almost ubiquitous, in cancer and palliative care. Other than for acute, short-term fatigue, the associations of fatigue are more general than specific and not unique to cancer care. For those who have completed active treatment, the original trigger for symptoms may not be the cause of persistent fatigue. Inactivity may play a part, but the links between patient beliefs about the cause of symptoms and subsequent behavior in response to symptoms may play an important role. More direct interventions may produce better results. Exercise is safe and effective, but its benefits are not simply due to improved physical fitness. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) covers a range of interventions linked by underlying shared themes.

Keywords: chronic fatigue; cancer; palliative care; exercise; cognitive behavioral therapy

Chapter.  6504 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Palliative Medicine

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