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Crystal S. Denlinger and Andrea M. Barsevick

Edited by Kerrin G. Robinson

With advances in treatment, colorectal cancer (CRC) is being transformed from a deadly disease into an illness that is increasingly curable. With this transformation has come increased interest in the unique problems, risks, needs, and concerns of survivors who have completed treatment and are cancer-free. Research has shown that physical and mental quality of life for CRC survivors was inferior compared with age-matched individuals without cancer. Although issues and symptoms were most prominent during the first 3 years, long-term effects of treatment can persist and include fatigue, sleep difficulty, fear of recurrence, anxiety, depression, negative body image, sensory neuropathy, gastrointestinal problems, urinary incontinence, and sexual dysfunction. The unique challenges and issues of CRC survivors can and should be addressed by health care providers and the research community to ensure effective interventions and models of care to manage these problems. This article discusses what is known about the long-term effects of CRC treatment on quality of life, the care of survivors, and existing models of survivorship care.

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Joanne E. Mortimer, Andrea M. Barsevick, Charles L. Bennett, Ann M. Berger, Charles Cleeland, Shannon R. DeVader, Carmen Escalante, Jeffrey Gilreath, Arti Hurria, Tito R. Mendoza and Hope S. Rugo

NCCN convened a committee of experts to make recommendations for future studies of cancer-related fatigue (CRF). The committee reviewed the current data on the incidence, clinical measurement, and treatment of CRF. The assessment of fatigue is largely derived from self-report questionnaires that address the symptom of fatigue, and do not correlate the presence of fatigue with change in physical activity. The committee developed a self-report questionnaire, NCCN Fatigue and Contributing Factors Inventory, which incorporates assessments of fatigue, pain, difficulty sleeping, distress, physical activity, and concurrent medications. A clinical research study using this measure in conjunction with the NCCN Breast Cancer Outcomes Database Project is planned. The committee noted a strong interaction among fatigue, pain, difficulty sleeping, and distress and recommended that future clinical research address these interactions.

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Ann M. Berger, Amy Pickar Abernethy, Ashley Atkinson, Andrea M. Barsevick, William S. Breitbart, David Cella, Bernadine Cimprich, Charles Cleeland, Mario A. Eisenberger, Carmen P. Escalante, Paul B. Jacobsen, Phyllis Kaldor, Jennifer A. Ligibel, Barbara A. Murphy, Tracey O'Connor, William F. Pirl, Eve Rodler, Hope S. Rugo, Jay Thomas and Lynne I. Wagner

OverviewFatigue is a common symptom in patients with cancer and is nearly universal in those undergoing cytotoxic chemotherapy, radiation therapy, bone marrow transplantation, or treatment with biologic response modifiers.1–10 The symptom is experienced by 70% to 100% of patients with cancer who undergo multi-modal treatments and dose–dense, dose-intense protocols.11 In patients with metastatic disease, the prevalence of cancer-related fatigue exceeds 75%. Cancer survivors report that fatigue is a disruptive symptom months or even years after treatment ends.12–21 The distinction between tiredness, fatigue, and exhaustion has not been made, despite conceptual differences.22,23 Patients perceive fatigue to be the most distressing symptom associated with cancer and its treatment, more distressing even than pain or nausea and vomiting, which, for most patients, can generally be managed with medications.24,25Fatigue in patients with cancer has been underreported, underdiagnosed, and undertreated. Persistent cancer-related fatigue affects quality of life (QOL), because patients become too tired to fully participate in the roles and activities that make their lives meaningful.16,26–28 Health care professionals have been challenged in their efforts to help patients manage this distressful symptom and remain as fully engaged in life as possible. Because of the successes in cancer treatment, health care professionals are now likely to see patients with prolonged states of fatigue related to the late effects of treatment. Disability-related issues are relevant and often challenging, especially for patients who are cured of their malignancy but experience continued fatigue.29 Despite biomedical literature documenting this entity, patients with cancer-related fatigue often have difficulty obtaining...