Cancer-related fatigue

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Cancer-related fatigue or CRF may refer fatigue caused by cancer that begins before cancer treatment,[1] or fatigue that begins during cancer treatment, which is also known as Post-cancer Fatigue or PCF.

Cancer-related fatigue excludes the diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome when symptoms can be fully accounted for by cancer-related fatigue. People with pre-existing ME/CFS may experience a significant increase in fatigue after developing cancer.

Symptoms[edit | edit source]

Differences from ME/CFS[edit | edit source]

Disease process[edit | edit source]

Cancer-related fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome have some similarities but are believed to have different underlying disease mechanisms, and affect the body differently. Fatigue can be one of several early symptoms of cancer, or may be triggered by cancer treatment.[2] Differences include different EEG findings, different hs-CRP levels and different heart rate variability.

Symptoms[edit | edit source]

Post-exertional malaise (PEM) is increasingly regarded as the hallmark symptom in ME/CFS, but is only found in a minority of people with cancer-related fatigue.

Cancer-related fatigue was found to more closely linked to sleep quality, anxiety and depression compared to chronic fatigue syndrome.[2]

Diagnostic criteria[edit | edit source]

Cancer-related fatigue cannot be diagnosed without a clear test indicating that cancer is present. ME/CFS is not diagnosed if an alternative explanation is present for the symptoms, such as an untreated fatiguing illness, although this does depend on the diagnostic criteria used.

Risk factors[edit | edit source]

Risk factors in cancer-related fatigue. Source: Cells. 2019 Jul; 8(7): 738.

Triggers and risk factors differ significantly between ME/CFS and cancer-related fatigue.[3] ME/CFS is mostly commonly associated with a sudden rather than gradual onset, and often begins after an infection, particularly a virus, although many other events may trigger ME/CFS include accidents and injuries, and surgery.

Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is associated with different demographics, for example older patients and obesity is a significant risk factor, plus the type of cancer, the cancer treatment schedule, plus specific anti-cancer drugs and treatments.[3]

Treatment[edit | edit source]

Treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome differs significantly from the treatment of cancer-related fatigue. Exercise intolerance is a hallmark of ME/CFS and exercise therapy is linked to worsening symptoms in the vast majority of ME/CFS patients, but exercise often improves cancer-related fatigue.[2]

See also[edit | edit source]

Learn more[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Spotting the difference: Cancer related fatigue VS everyday fatigue". Leukaemia Care. Retrieved Sep 25, 2020. 
  2. 2.02.12.2 Park, Hye Youn; Jeon, Hong Jun; Bang, Young Rong; Yoon, In-Young (January 2019). "Multidimensional Comparison of Cancer-Related Fatigue and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: The Role of Psychophysiological Markers". Psychiatry Investigation. 16 (1): 71–79. doi:10.30773/pi.2018.10.26. ISSN 1738-3684. PMC 6354035Freely accessible. PMID 30605994. 
  3. 3.03.1 Yang, Songwei; Chu, Shifeng; Gao, Yan; Ai, Qidi; Liu, Yingjiao; Li, Xun; Chen, Naihong (Jul 18, 2019). "A Narrative Review of Cancer-Related Fatigue (CRF) and Its Possible Pathogenesis". Cells. 8 (7): 738. doi:10.3390/cells8070738. ISSN 2073-4409. PMC 6679212Freely accessible. PMID 31323874. 

ME/CFS - An acronym that combines myalgic encephalomyelitis with chronic fatigue syndrome. Sometimes they are combined because people have trouble distinguishing one from the other. Sometimes they are combined because people see them as synonyms of each other.

heart rate variability (HRV) - A measurement of the variability of the heart rate over time. When the heart rate is consistent, there will be a low heart rate variability. When the heart rate is constantly changing, there will be a high heart rate variability. Heart rate variability is often used by ME/CFS patients to monitor their autonomic nervous system, as high heart rate variability is associated with the sympathetic nervous system and low heart rate variability is associated with the parasympathetic nervous system.

post-exertional malaise (PEM) - A notable exacerbation of symptoms brought on by small physical or cognitive exertions. PEM can last for days or weeks. Symptoms can include cognitive impairments, muscle pain (myalgia), trouble remaining upright (orthostatic intolerance), sleep abnormalities, and gastro-intestinal impairments, among others.

chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) - A fatigue-based illness. The term CFS was invented invented by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control as an replacement for myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). Some view CFS as a neurological disease, others use the term for any unexplained long-term fatigue. Sometimes used as a the term as a synonym of myalgic encephalomyelitis, despite the different diagnostic criteria.

The information provided at this site is not intended to diagnose or treat any illness.
From MEpedia, a crowd-sourced encyclopedia of ME and CFS science and history.