Background: Fatigue among older patients and cancer patients is often reported in the literatures. However, relatively few studies can conclude whether fatigue happens more frequently in older patients with advanced cancer. We designed our study to examine the prevalence and features of fatigue among older advanced cancer patients in Taiwan. Methods: Because self-reporting from patients is the most effective method to measure fatigue, the instrument of International Classification of Diseases-10 criteria for fatigue was applied. The questionnaire was translated to Chinese and approved by experts. Patients were collected from a palliative clinic or ward. Results: Two hundred patients were interviewed between October 21, 2008, and October 28, 2009. There were 187 patients (93.5%) complaining of fatigue, and 130 of them (65%) met the criteria of cancer-related fatigue (CRF). Among the patients who were older than 65 years, 69 (92%) felt fatigue subjectively and 53 (71%) met the criteria of CRF. Feeling weak or heavy, having difficulty finishing something that had been started, and losing the interest or desire to the things that were usually done were more frequently seen among older cancer patients who experienced fatigue. Older cancer patients with CRF had a significantly higher incidence of feeling weak or heavy all over. Conclusion: High incidence of fatigue among older patients with advanced cancer was noted. Fatigue in this population was related to physical and psychosocial factors. Physical factor plays an important role in older cancer patients with CRF.
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