16 October 2017

 

Teenagers treated for cancer can suffer from fatigue for years afterwards, according to a study published last week.

A study involving 80 British teenagers and young adults found that 46% reported suffering moderate or severe tiredness for years after the end of treatment.

And 65% said it 'significantly' affected their ability to go to school or work.

Campaigners called for patients to be warned at the outset of the risk of chronic fatigue – together with support and guidance to help them keep active.

The research was undertaken by Cambridge University Hospitals and Macmillan Cancer Support.

Dany Bell, from Macmillan, said: 'People may think that because teenagers are young they would have the ability to bounce back quickly after cancer but that often isn’t the case – they can face crippling levels of fatigue.

'Teens who’ve been through cancer often feel lifeless, aching from head to toe and lacking in energy. If they miss out on school or spending time with their friends, it could affect their social skills and employment prospects in the long run.

'That’s why it is so important that young people are given the help and support they need to battle side-effects of cancer right from their diagnosis so they can lead lives which are as normal as possible and will set them on the right path for their futures.'

Ellis Haggith, aged 21, from Bedford, UK, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia when he was 16 – and was under treatment for three years, leading to him having to give up playing basketball.

He said: 'I knew that I needed to keep active so I would go for short walks and I took up golf to keep my competitive streak going. There is a way to lead a normal life and not let the fatigue beat me but it is incredibly difficult.'

Source: Cancer-Related Fatigue in Adolescents and Young Adults After Cancer Treatment: Persistent and Poorly Managed.  Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology October 2017

Link: http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1089/jayao.2017.0037

 

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