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Fatigue and Depression in Patients with Advanced Metastatic Disease
  1. Patricia O’Regan, College Lecturer and
  2. Josephine Hegarty, Associate College Professor
  1. School of Nursing and Midwifery, University College Cork, Brookfield Health Sciences Complex, Cork. Emails: p.oregan{at}uc.ie and J.Hegarty{at}ucc.ie

Abstract

Patients with advanced cancer often experience symptoms that impact negatively on their quality of life in the final phase of the disease process. Such symptoms include fatigue and depression. Fatigue is common in patients with advanced cancer. Depression is also a significant symptom among palliative care patients and patients with advanced metastatic disease. Both symptoms may prove difficult to diagnose and manage, challenging health professionals who care for dying patients. Fatigue and depression frequently co-exist. There is considerable debate as to whether one symptom causes or exacerbates the other. Recognition, assessment and management of these symptoms are vital for the optimum care of all palliative care patients. This article discusses the link between fatigue and depression in patients with advanced cancer, outlining assessment and management strategies. N.B. For a fuller description of the assessment and management of fatigue in advanced cancer, please refer to the article in a previous issue of this journal (O’Regan, 2008). Conflicts of interest: none

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