Surgical Oncology: Evolution of Postoperative Fatigue and Factors Related to Its Severity

Murielly Marques de Oliveira, BSN, MSN; Gabriela Ferreira de Oliveira, BSN; Juliana Nery de Souza-Talarico, PhD, BSN; and Dalete Delalibera Correa de Faria Mota, PhD, BSN


Background: Fatigue has been reported by many patients undergoing surgery and is associated with a negative prognosis. The factors associated with postoperative fatigue and its evolution during the postoperative period are unclear. Adequate fatigue measurement instruments are necessary to obtain reliable evaluations and to direct effective care to control fatigue in this patient population.

Objectives: This article describes the evolution of postoperative fatigue in patients with cancer as well as related factors.

Methods: A review of the literature using the CINAHL® and PubMed databases was undertaken.

Findings: The prevalence of moderate and severe fatigue varies during the postoperative period, with a reduction in the 12 months after surgery. Various factors (e.g., stress, anxiety, depression, pain, changes in sleep patterns) seem to influence the severity of fatigue. More evidence is needed to explore the relationship between immediate postoperative fatigue and the evolution of fatigue during the period following surgical treatment for cancer.

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