Relationship Between Fatigue and Nutritional Status in Patients Receiving Radiation Therapy to Treat Lung Cancer

Patricia Ringos Beach

Bettina M. Siebeneck

Nancy Buderer

Tina Ferner

nutrition, radiation therapy, lung cancer, fatigue

Purpose/Objectives: To describe the relationship between fatigue and nutritional status in patients receiving radiation therapy for lung cancer.

Design: Prospective, observational study.

Setting: Radiation therapy department of a large mid-western cancer center.

Sample: 45 adults with primary cancer of the lung receiving outpatient primary or adjuvant radiation therapy.

Methods: Measurements taken before radiation therapy, at week four of treatment, and at completion included the Piper Fatigue Scale, prealbumin levels, and weights.

Main Research Variable: Fatigue, nutritional status.

Findings: Weight loss over the course of treatment was significant but did not correlate with fatigue; fatigue did not change significantly during the measurement period.

Conclusions: Fatigue and nutrition are major problems for patients with lung cancer, but nutritional changes do not correlate with fatigue. An increase in fatigue during radiation therapy was not identified.

Implications for Nursing Practice: Nurses should continue efforts to intervene with the problems of nutrition and fatigue. The study should be repeated using different fatigue Instruments and with other cancer populations.

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