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Physiotherapy Theory and Practice


Background: Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is a common side effect and remains under-diagnosed. Screening of CRF by physical therapists (PTs) and patient perspectives of their experiences has not been comprehensively examined.

Purpose: To survey PTs to understand the frequency of CRF screening, and to assess the knowledge and experiences of survivors as it relates to CRF.

Methods: Two separate electronic surveys developed by the authors were distributed. One targeted oncology PTs, the other for adult survivors of cancer.

Results: Of the 199 PT respondents, 36% reported screening for CRF at every encounter. Screening included interviews (46%) and/or standardized questionnaires (37%). The most common barriers to receiving treatment for CRF was lack of physician referrals and time constraints. Of patient responses (n = 61), 84% reported CRF as an important ongoing issue; 77% reported that they initiated the discussion about CRF with their provider, and 23% reported being told there were treatment options for CRF.

Conclusion: CRF is common among cancer survivors. However, consistent screening by PTs is lacking. Patients with CRF frequently initiated the conversation with their providers because of symptoms and many patients were not told of treatment options. These findings represent a substantial gap in clinical practice regarding CRF screening and management.


Print ISSN: 0959-3985; Online ISSN: 1532-5040


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Taylor & Francis

Peer Reviewed


Embargoed until Thursday, March 30, 2023

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