The following is a summary of “Higher Stress in Oncology Patients is Associated With Cognitive and Evening Physical Fatigue Severity,” published in the March 2023 issue of Pain and Symptom Management by Morse, et al.

Cognitive and physical fatigue are prevalent symptoms among oncology patients, and their severity may be influenced by exposure to stressful life events (SLE), cancer-related stressors, coping styles, and resilience levels. For a study, researchers aimed to evaluate differences in stress levels, resilience, and coping among oncology patients (n=1,332) with distinct cognitive and evening physical fatigue profiles.

Using latent profile analysis, they identified three subgroups of patients with varying cognitive and evening physical fatigue levels: Low, Moderate, and High. In addition, patients completed measures of global, cancer-specific, and cumulative life stress, as well as measures of resilience and coping. Finally, parametric and nonparametric tests were used to evaluate differences among the latent classes in the various measures.

The results indicated that compared to the Low class, the other two classes reported higher global and cancer-specific stress and higher rates of sexual harassment and forced touching before age 16. In addition, the High class reported lower resilience scores and higher denial, substance use, and behavioral disengagement use than the other two classes.

They concluded that to reduce both cognitive and evening physical fatigue, clinicians should identify relevant stressors and initiate interventions to increase resilience and the use of engagement coping strategies. In addition, further research was needed to understand the relative contribution of various social determinants of health to cognitive and physical fatigue in oncology patients undergoing chemotherapy.