Fatigue after head and neck cancer-results of a survey using the Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory (MFI-20)

Head and Neck Cancer

Breitenstein K and Hoyer H. HNO 2020.


BACKGROUND: Fatigue resulting from cancer and its treatment can lead to a reduction in quality of life. The frequency and intensity of fatigue syndrome after cancer therapy in the ENT field are largely unknown. Therefore, during follow-up consultations, the authors conducted a random survey with the help of the Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory (MFI 20).

METHODS: During aftercare consultations, 66 patients were interviewed (average age 63 years, 21 women). All patients had received radiotherapy an average of 2 years previously (range 1-4 years). All respondents were in full remission at the time of the survey. According to recommendations, evaluation of the MFI-20 was carried out in 5 subgroups: general fatigue, physical fatigue, reduced activity, reduced motivation, and mental fatigue. For comparison with standard values, respondents were grouped by age into under and over 60 years and were also evaluated by gender.

RESULTS: Regardless of gender, our patients reported clearly elevated scores in all subgroups. Particularly participants aged under 60 years reported very high scores. The clarity of the results surprised the authors.

CONCLUSION: Fatigue represents a very profound and prolonged impairment for the patients of our study. Since fatigue can still be present a long time after completion of treatment, patients should be asked about it specifically using a standardized inventory during follow-up. In order to cope with fatigue syndrome, specific therapeutic recommendations aimed at activation, such as regular physical activity, nutritional advice, and complementary measures, can be made.