Quality of Life and Clinical Decisions in Chemotherapy-Induced Anemia
July 01, 2006
Fatigue is common in cancer patients treated with chemotherapy, and it has detrimental effects on their quality of life. Chemotherapy-induced anemia, however, is often under-recognized and under-treated. There is a clear association between hemoglobin (Hgb) levels and fatigue, with fatigue being greater in patients with lower Hgb levels. Managing fatigue requires that its causes be determined and corrected, and it is important that patients report their fatigue. Patients, however, are unlikely to mention such adverse events unless they are asked about them. In addition, busy practitioners generally have very little time to discuss anemia-related fatigue with their patients. Many studies have used the validated quality-of-life instrument Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Fatigue (FACT-F) to assess fatigue and quality of life in patients treated with chemotherapy; these studies have shown a relationship between chemotherapy-induced anemia, fatigue, and quality of life. Studies of erythropoiesis-stimulating proteins to treat chemotherapy-induced anemia have shown increases in patients' hemoglobin levels, improvement in their FACT-F and FACT-General scores, and improvements in their quality of life.