Forty-eight percent of women with gynecologic cancers report experiencing clinically significant fatigue after surgery that may continue six months (44%) and one (39%) year later, researchers reported in study findings published in Cancer.

The researchers studied 81 women with newly diagnosed ovarian cancer and 181 women with endometrial cancer that did not progress or recur in a prospective cohort study. They had the women report their fatigue, depression, and anxiety after surgery and 6 and 12 months later using two established scales.

In addition to finding that nearly half of women have had clinically significant fatigue that for many persisted up to a year, they also observed six patterns to the fatigue experience: always low (37%), always high (25%), high then resolves (18%), new onset (10%), fluctuating (6%), and incidental (5%). Patients with depressive symptoms were also more likely to report fatigue symptoms.

“Our findings also suggest that interventions targeting cancer- and treatment-related fatigue and depressive symptoms may be particularly promising; for example, using cognitive behavioral therapy to address psychological distress and change fatigue-related cognitions and behaviors may reduce fatigue while simultaneously improving depressive symptoms,” the authors wrote.