Presence, communication and treatment of fatigue and pain complaints in incurable cancer patients
Objective: This study describes the experiences of fatigue and pain in incurable cancer patients and the treatment they receive. Methods: Patients were recruited via medical specialists from hospitals in the South and Southwest of the Netherlands. Hundred and twenty-five incurable cancer patients filled out a written questionnaire and were also interviewed at home. Results: Ninety percent reported to suffer from fatigue and 48% had pain. Forty-five percent had discussed fatigue with a healthcare professional and 55% had discussed pain. Fifteen percent reported to receive medical treatment for their fatigue and 29% received pain treatment. Treatment for fatigue and pain treatment had been recently adjusted in 4% of the patients with fatigue complaints and 21% of the patients with pain complaints. Conclusion: Although fatigue is a more common problem than pain in patients with incurable cancer, less attention in the care is paid to fatigue and its treatment than to pain. Practice implications: Fatigue deserves more attention in the care policy for incurable cancer patients and more research should be focused on interventions to address fatigue in this group of cancer patients.