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Keywords

Fatigue, Self-management, Thai Buddhist cancer patients, Radiation therapy

 

Authors

  1. Lundberg, Pranee C. PhD, RN
  2. Rattanasuwan, Orawan BSc, RN

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to describe (a) the subjective feelings of fatigue of Thai Buddhist cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy (RT) and identify possible gender differences, (b) their beliefs about the main cause of fatigue, and (c) their ways of self-management for relief of fatigue. One hundred thirty-three voluntary and randomly selected patients, 55 men and 78 women, completed a questionnaire with a Thai version of the Revised Piper Fatigue Scale. After 1 week of treatment, the largest group (42.1%) of the patients had felt fatigue during the last few hours (from 1 to 5 hours). The patients perceived a mild level of fatigue, but the sensory/cognitive fatigue scores were high. Five categories of beliefs about the main cause of fatigue emerged: (a) receiving RT; (b) feelings of anxiety, depression, and fright/fear; (c) cancer; (d) long travel to hospital and long waiting time for RT; and (e) difficulty with sleep and weak body. For relief of fatigue, 5 categories of self-management emerged: (1) getting moral support from family and friends; (2) practicing religion, reciting prayers, doing merit, and meditating; (3) practicing self-care for symptomatic problems; (4) accepting the situation and doing the best of one's life; and (5) consulting with doctor and nurse. In conclusion, healthcare providers need to be concerned about RT patients' symptoms of fatigue, beliefs about causes of fatigue, and ways of self-management for relief of fatigue. They also need understanding of cultural and religious beliefs to plan holistic care.