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Blood & Cancer

70 EpisodesProduced by MDedge Hematology OncologyWebsite

Interview-style hematology/oncology podcast from MDedge Hematology-Oncology. The show is hosted by Dr. David Henry with Pearls from Dr. Ilana Yurkiewicz for clinical hematology and oncology health care professionals. The information in this podcast is provided for informational and educational purpo… read more


Cancer-related fatigue


David Cella, PhD, and Lisa Wu, PhD, both of Northwestern University in Chicago, discuss fatigue and sleep disturbance related to cancer – its prevalence and possible treatments -- in this episode of Blood & Cancer.


In Clinical Correlation (29:45), Ilana Yurkiewicz, MD, of Stanford (Calif.) University, shares a case that highlights the resilience that patients show in the face of cancer, and asks: Can a positive attitude improve outcomes?


Show notes

By Hitomi Hosoya, MD, PhD, resident in the department of internal medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 

  • Cancer-related fatigue is prevalent in cancer patients and cancer survivors.
  • Sleep disturbance also is prevalent in this population and can be related to fatigue.
  • In breast cancer patients, for instance, fatigue during treatment can be as high as 80%.
  • Even after 7-9 years of treatment, more than 50% of breast cancer patients reported sleep disturbances, according to one study.
  • Cancer-related fatigue is different from usual daily fatigue; it is more severe, more distressing, and not relieved by rest.
  • Cancer-related fatigue and sleep disturbance are thought to be related to pro-inflammatory cytokines, endocrine dysfunction, and possibly to circadian rhythm.
  • Cancer-related fatigue should be evaluated from treatment regimen perspectives, metabolic perspectives, or other underlying medical problems.
  • If the above conditions are ruled out, psychosocial therapy (exercise, cognitive behavioral therapy) should be considered.
  • Recently, light therapy using broad-spectrum bright light to correct circadian rhythm has been studied.
  • The gold standard treatment for sleep issues in cancer is cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia.


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