Survivors of childhood leukemia and lymphoma are at greater risk of chronic fatigue: Study

Chronic fatigue, a persistent lack of energy that does not improve with rest, is at least three times more prevalent among adult survivors of acute lymphoblastic leukemia and lymphoma experienced during childhood or adolescence than in the general adult population, according to an article in Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology (JAYAO), (http://www.liebertpub.com/JAYAO) a multidisciplinary peer-reviewed publication from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. (http://www.liebertpub.com) JAYAO is the Official Journal of the Society for Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology (www.sayao.org). The article is available online on the JAYAO (http://www.liebertpub.com/JAYAO) website.

Chronic fatigue can negatively affect a person's health-related quality of life and ability to work and carry out normal daily functions. Authors Hanne Hamre, MD and colleagues Oslo University Hospital and University of Oslo Norway used a questionnaire, clinical examination, and blood samples to compare adult survivors of childhood leukemia and lymphoma to a control group from the general population. The prevalence of chronic fatigue was 27% among the cancer survivors compared to 8% among controls.

In the article "High Prevalence of Chronic Fatigue in Adult Long-Term Survivors of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and Lymphoma during Childhood and Adolescence," (http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/jayao.2012.0015) the authors describe factors predictive of chronic fatigue among the adult cancer survivors and present blood analysis findings suggestive of a persistent low-grade inflammatory response that may contribute to the chronic fatigue.

"Chronic fatigue in cancer survivors is often an under-appreciated complication of treatment," says Editor-in-Chief Leonard S. Sender, MD, of the University of California, Irvine and CHOC Children's Hospital. "There is a general belief that after successful treatment a survivor should be able to bounce back without lasting effects. Hamre and colleagues demonstrate that fatigue is a larger problem than generally appreciated. Their findings put a spotlight on this key aspect of cancer survivorship and serve to encourage the medical community to communicate with cancer survivor patients about possible chronic fatigue."

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