Treating cancer symptoms improves quality of life. Part 1: Treatment of anaemia and fatigue
Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols
Genital Neoplasms, Female
Fatigue occurs frequently in cancer patients. This fatigue impacts on the activities of daily life, including social- and work-related activities. Anaemia, a common symptom of cancer and its treatment, is one of the many causes of this fatigue. Historically, treatment of anaemia has been limited to preventing the physiological complications associated with anaemia. This paradigm has recently changed as data have emerged to support the relationship between anaemia and fatigue up to and including haemoglobin levels of 12 g/dL. Epoetin alfa has been shown to be an effective therapy for the anaemia associated with cancer in patients receiving chemotherapy. More recently, three community-based studies involving nearly 5000 patients have found that epoetin alfa can significantly increase haemoglobin levels, reduce transfusion requirements, and improve patient quality of life. These benefits appear to be independent of tumour response. Taken as a whole, these findings indicate that epoetin alfa can improve haematological parameters in anaemic cancer patients receiving chemotherapy and that these improvements are associated with improved quality of life.