Chronic fatigue after childhood cancer

Lay Summary of Tomáš Sláma’s Study

What did we want to achieve with our study?
Cancer treatment makes you very tired. Sometimes even adults who had cancer as children still suffer from fatigue. We wanted to see how often this happens in Switzerland. We also wanted to find out if certain people are more tired.  

Why is this important?
If doctors know more about such fatigue, they can help those affected better. You can do something about it! For example, exercise is often good for you. Talking to a psychotherapist can also help.

What did we do in our study?
We wanted to hear from adults who had been treated for cancer as a child at the University Hospital of Bern. We invited them to a special consultation ( 158 of them filled out a questionnaire about their fatigue. The questionnaire is called “Checklist Individual Strength”. Hospitals in many countries use this checklist to find out more about fatigue.

What did we find out? What does it mean?
Almost one-fifth of these adults feel tired often. But there are groups that are affected more often. These include women and young adults. People who had a brain tumour as a child are often tired. Of course, this also applies to people who sleep poorly. Adults with hormone problems (e.g. hypothyroidism) also often suffer from fatigue.

This means: doctors should always ask former childhood cancer patients about tiredness. If necessary, they can do something about it together.

Reference: Sláma T, Belle FN, Strebel S, Christen S, Hägler-Laube E, Rössler J, Kuehni CE, von der Weid NX, & Schindera C. Prevalence and factors associated with cancer-related fatigue in Swiss adult survivors of childhood cancer. J Cancer Surviv. 2023. DOI: 10.1007/s11764-023-01413-1

Find the full publication here:  link