Background: Fatigue is the most common and persistent symptom among women in the first five years after a breast cancer diagnosis. However, long-term prevalence of fatigue, among breast cancer survivors, needs further investigation. Aim: To compare fatigue experienced by long-term breast cancer survivors with that in a reference population and to evaluate the determinants of that fatigue. Design and Setting: A cross-sectional cohort study of 350 breast cancer survivors ≥5 years after diagnosis and a reference population of 350 women matched by age and general practitioner. Method: Fatigue was measured using the Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory (MFI-20), and a sum score of >60 (multidimensional fatigue) was the primary outcome. Logistic regression was applied to compare the prevalence of multidimensional fatigue between the survivor and reference populations, adjusted for body mass index (BMI) and for cardiovascular and psychological variables. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95%CIs) were estimated. Logistic regression was applied to evaluate the determinants of multidimensional fatigue among the survivors. Results: Breast cancer survivors (median 10 years after diagnosis), more often experienced multidimensional fatigue than the reference population (26.6% versus 15.4%; OR, 2.0 [95%CI, 1.4–2.9]), even after adjusting for confounders. The odds of multidimensional fatigue were also higher among survivors with symptoms of depression (32.2% versus 2.7%; OR, 17.0 [95%CI, 7.1–40.5]) or anxiety (41.9% versus 10.1%; OR, 6.4 [95%CI, 3.6–11.4]). Conclusion: One in four breast cancer survivors experience multidimensional fatigue and fatigue occurs more frequently than in women of the same age and general practitioner. This fatigue appears to be associated with symptoms of depression and anxiety.
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