Fatigue among breast cancer patients receiving radiotherapy at an oncology centre in Ghana

Kofi Adesi Kyei, Emmanuel Osei Nkansah, Verna Vanderpuye, Samuel Yaw Opoku


Background Breast cancers are caused by an overgrowth of the cells lining the breast ducts. Fatigue is one of the symptoms most frequently reported by patients with breast cancer during and after radiation treatment which impacts upon their quality of life. This symptom is caused by the cancer and related treatment, and it often interferes with daily activities.

Aim The aim of the study was to assess fatigue among patients undergoing radiotherapy in Ghana.

Method A quantitative survey was carried out at an oncology centre in Ghana. Convenience sampling was used with a sample of 120 participants. Data were collected using a structured questionnaire in the form of a modified fatigue symptom inventory scale. Data collected were analysed using SPSS version 20. Frequency tables and pie charts were used to present information obtained from the analysis.

Results The response rate was 100% (n=120). Fifty-one (42.5%) respondents experienced average fatigue after receiving two weeks of radiotherapy, 45 (37.5%) experienced extreme fatigue, 22.5% experienced mild fatigue, and 10% had no fatigue. Fifteen (12.5%) experienced mild fatigue within two weeks of treatment. The majority (45%) claimed they did nothing about the fatigue they experience during treatment; 32.5% indicated that they took a nap (sleep) anytime, they experience fatigue; 15% claimed they saw (reported to) their doctors when they experienced fatigue; and a few (7.5%) claimed they used medication when they experienced fatigue.

Conclusion Patients who received radiotherapy at an oncology centre in Ghana experienced different levels of fatigue during their treatment trajectory. As a result of this, their ability to concentrate, as well as to undertake normal daily activities, was affected.


Assessment; fatigue inventory scale; frequency; severity

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The South African Radiographer | ISSN 0258 0241

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