Cancer Related Fatigue and Optimism in Cancer Patients

Raisa Strebkova, Miroslava Petkova Petkova


Summary: The symptoms of fatigue and exhaustion are considered to be the most common complaints among
patients with malignant diseases during the process of treatment and upon its completion. The manifestations of
fatigue can be physical, cognitive and emotional. Particularly interesting are the risk factors for the emergence of
fatigue which persists for months or years upon the completion of the treatment. A number of studies have discussed
the significance of the psychological factors such as the personality traits, the person’s behaviour and the lifestyle.
Objective: To examine the burden of fatigue among patients with malignant diseases undergoing radiotherapy and
long-term survivors and determine the effect of optimism on the burden of fatigue among them. Method: A
questionnaire; MFI-20-A multidimensional questionnaire on fatigue; Method of examining the generalized
expectations about the valence of the obtained results. 66 people with a confirmed oncological diagnosis were
included in the study, 36 of whom were undergoing radiotherapy at the time of the study. 30 of the examined people
have undergone radiotherapy and are presently long-term survivors who have lived over five years after being
diagnosed with the disease. Conclusion: The patients that were undergoing radiotherapy at that time manifested
more evident symptoms of fatigue within the dimensions of decreased motivation and decreased activity compared to
the patients belonging to the group of the long-term survivors. Optimism and the negative expectations correlate
significantly with the dimensions of fatigue in both groups of patients, as the most obvious is the negative correlation
of optimism with the decreased activity and the decreased motivation. The presence of optimism and low negative
expectations within the personality profile of patients with oncological diseases suggests lower levels of fatigue
regardless of the stage of the disease and the conducted treatment.

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