Patients With Gynecologic Cancers Have Significant Fatigue After Surgery

November 12, 2020 by Elisa Becze BA, ELS, Editor

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 (

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