Saturday , July 2 2022

How to cope with fatigue associated with cancer


One in two people will have cancer, which will turn the other half of the population into a family member of a sick person. So, late or later, this disease will affect us all.

For a long time, patients generally had only two possibilities: living or dying. However, for many years, thanks to the progress of the research, a new perspective comes to the fore. Cancer is increasingly seen as a chronic, long-term disease.

From the moment the doctor declares the word "delete", which means, presumably, that the cancer has given the best to be present, there is a new life t to start. Life changes and contains a number of incapable symptoms. In fact, more than half of people living in the post-cancer period have more difficulty than the period of treatments, which, however, is a hard experience.

And why are these circumstances? The main offender is fatigue (also known as fatigue). Or, rather, fatigue, because this term includes many different states. It's important to distinguish them well to cope with them in the best way possible.

Fatigue can be described as a feeling. Each person experiences it in a close and daily manner. Although it seems a general experience, tones appear at the time of feeling and different types of fatigue arise.

Weakness, depression, prostitution, fatigue, fatigue, reluctance, fatigue, dilution or fatigue are many synonyms of the word "fatigue". The richness of this vocabulary gives an idea of ​​how this phenomenon is very diverse.

It can be understood that fatigue condition is also a reduction in functional capacity. The advantage of this view is that it allows quantification of fatigue by objective testing. For example, fatigue can be defined as a reduction in the ability of muscles to produce power. After a 160 km race in the mountains, the hip muscles can only produce two thirds of their initial strength. A physiologist, after analyzing the results of the runners who have this exercise, considers them tired.

On their behalf, cognitive science specialists can offer another definition of fatigue based on response time. After several hours of mental calculation, the response time is increasing. Researchers, by highlighting this progress, will describe the subject as one that is particularly tiring.

So there are so many types of fatigue with functions evaluated, which increases the difficulty of understanding this phenomenon in general.

In general, the feeling of fatigue is not pathological. Its main function is to guarantee the good functioning of the organism that protects it from the threat of over-enforcement. Going out to a party through the night, running a marathon, working with the computer through the day, getting the flu … All these situations will be "annoying" and, therefore, they will forcing us to take a break. The cause of fatigue can be clearly identified, and fatigue will disappear after a period of recovery.

In contrast, fatigue associated with cancer does not have the same character. The term itself is wrong, because it comes from the fatigue associated with cancer in England, that its translation should literally be "fatigue associated with cancer". with cancer. " In fact, our feeling of physical, cognitive or emotional fatigue is disproportionate in relation to the activity that has just been achieved. It is not released by rest and is disturbing the quality of life deeply.

The fatigue associated with cancer can be due to many factors. It can influence medical, biological, psychological, behavioral or even social parameters.

For example, treatments with chemotherapy are known to produce muscle waste, linked to a greater weakness in exercise. Half of patients also report suffering from major sleep disorders. The depression of some patients is also often associated with severe fatigue. To the contrary, patients who live like a couple feel less tired.

However, and despite the extensive research undertaken, the relative proportion of the different mechanisms associated with fatigue and the way they interact is still unknown.

The vast majority of patients will notice this symptom of fatigue during treatments. According to the French National Cancer Institute, "most of the sick people questioned consider that fatigue affects their daily life as much as pain or even more".

More serious fact: a third of people with cancer will suffer this chronic fatigue ten years after dissolution (for researchers, cancer is not "cured" in the strict sense, the indicator used to monitor patients is "5 year net survival rate." This cold scientific jargon means that there has been no sign of relapse for a period of 5 years after the procedure.

However, the number of patients growing up is increasing, given that medical research has made important progress. Over the last 30 years, the rate of eradication has improved for most types of cancer. However, there is still not enough attention given to fatigue, as it is often seen as a necessary step, by the sick and by health professionals. The first prefers not to talk about it, and the latter finds it difficult to offer a specific treatment. However, fatigue associated with cancer is not inevitable, and can be treated.

To date, pharmacological treatment has been ineffective in reducing cancer-related fatigue, except in cases where biological disturbance is clearly detected, such as when patients suffer from anemia.

In contrast, there are a number of non-pharmacological interventions that can be effective in reducing cancer-related fatigue, such as adequate physical activity, cognitive-behavioral therapies or mental body interventions, among others. However, they tend to have weak or moderate effects, and must be taken to be very varied depending on each person.

Fatigue is a unique response to mechanisms that can be very different depending on each person. That is why there is no overall answer. Intervention may be sufficient to treat patient fatigue and, however, be much less relevant to another. For example, physical activity will definitely be in fatigue associated with muscle mass loss, but it will be unsuitable if fatigue originates mainly from emotional origin.

Therefore, it is essential to better understand what fatigue each patient is. Our laboratory and other equipment in the world is working on it. These research studies will allow, in the long term, to better evaluate the different causes of fatigue, offer treatment to personalize and optimize the effectiveness of interventions. Meanwhile, weight should be given to fatigue, as it is not an irrelevant factor.

Baptiste Morel
Maître de conférences, University of Le Mans

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