Research Article| Volume 3, ISSUE 3, P182-188, July 2012

The impact of fatigue and anemia on functional status in older cancer patients treated with chemotherapy

Published:March 07, 2012DOI:



      Fatigue has multiple causes but the pathogenesis is not completely understood. Fatigue is one of the worst threats to the functional independence of older individuals. The aim of this study is to establish an association between fatigue, anemia and functional dependence in older cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.

      Materials and methods

      Patients aged 70 years or older with a diagnosis of metastatic malignancy were enrolled. All patients were evaluated at the beginning and after 3 months of treatment. A comprehensive geriatric assessment and Fatigue Symptom Inventory (FSI) were used at the beginning and at the end of the study.


      The final sample involved 129 patients. Almost all fatigue scores had a significant increase from the beginning to the end of treatment. IADLs and PS decreased significantly between the baseline and the final evaluations. The worsening in severity of fatigue, anemia, the increase in interference with daily living as well as the hours of fatigue during the day were associated with disabilities in IADLs. The decline in creatinine value was the only parameter associated with PS.


      Fatigue is almost universal in older cancer patients at the end of chemotherapy treatment and is associated with functional dependence, especially IADLs. We also established an independent correlation of anemia and functional dependence in older individuals.


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