Age differences in fatigue, decrements in energy, and sleep disturbance in oncology patients receiving chemotherapy

Lindsey E. Bischel, Christine Ritchie, Kord M. Kober, Steven M. Paul, Bruce A. Cooper, Lee May Chen, Jon D. Levine, Marilyn Hammer, Fay Wright, Christine Miaskowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective The number of older adults with cancer is increasing. Given the limited amount of research and the inconsistent findings regarding age differences in common physical symptoms associated with cancer and its treatments, the purposes of this study, in a sample of oncology outpatients receiving chemotherapy (CTX), were to evaluate for age differences in demographic and clinical characteristics, as well as in occurrence rates of and severity ratings for fatigue, decrements in energy, and sleep disturbance. In addition, using regression analysis techniques, within and across age groups, demographic and clinical characteristics associated with the severity of each symptom were evaluated. Methods Patients (n = 1343) were dichotomized into younger (<65 years) and older (≥65 years) age groups. Patients completed self-report questionnaires prior to their next dose of CTX. Results Overall, our findings suggest that compared to younger patients, older adults experience a lower or similar level of fatigue, decrements in energy, and sleep disturbance. However, it should be noted that both age groups experienced high occurrence rates and moderate to severe levels of all three symptoms. Conclusions Clinicians need to assess all oncology patients receiving CTX for these three symptoms. Future research needs to determine the biopsychosocial reasons that underlie these age-related differences in fatigue, decrements in energy, and sleep disturbance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-123
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Oncology Nursing
Volume23
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016

Keywords

  • Age differences
  • Cancer
  • Chemotherapy
  • Diurnal variations
  • Elderly
  • Energy
  • Fatigue
  • Occurrence
  • Older adults
  • Severity
  • Sleep disturbance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology(nursing)

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