What is cancer-related fatigue?

Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is one of the most prevalent and debilitating symptoms experienced by people with cancer. It can persist for months or years after cancer therapy is completed and has a negative impact on all areas of function. According to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) CRF is "a persistent, subjective sense of physical, emotional, and/or cognitive exhaustion related to cancer or its treatment that is not proportional to recent activity" (NCCN, 2011). Fatigue occurs across the spectrum of cancer types and treatments. CRF has a negative impact on all areas of function, including mood, physical function, work performance, social interaction, family care, cognitive performance, schoolwork, and community activities. CRF has been rated as more troublesome and to have a greater negative impact on quality of life than other cancer-related symptoms such as pain, depression, and nausea. CRF can persist for months or years after cancer therapy is completed. With approximately 12 million cancer survivors today in the United States alone, increased attention is being given to quality of life after cancer treatment.

Study Opportunities

Massage therapy is one of the fastest growing alternative therapies and has a high rate of acceptance for symptom management among cancer patients. Massage has been shown in smaller studies with cancer patients to modulate the immune system. The massage for CRF study (click here for flyer information) investigates the effects of massage therapy on CRF among breast cancer survivors. The primary aim of this study is to explore whether a decrease in CRF will increase quality of life among cancer survivors. Participants will receive a physical exam, psychiatric evaluation, and laboratory tests at no cost.

How to participate

If you are interested in participating in our massage for cancer-related fatigue study, please contact the study coordinator at 404-778-2497.