Cancer related fatigue (CRF) is commonly reported by cancer survivors with the experience of fatigue ranging from feelings of tiredness to exhaustion. Fatigue often results in a substantial impact on a cancer survivor’s physical, emotional and/or psychological functioning. We explore why some people recover quickly while others do not.
Associate Professor Haryana Dhillon
Haryana is an Associate Professor in Cancer Survivorship and Psycho-Oncology at the Centre for Medical Psychology and Evidence-based Decision-making (CeMPED) University of Sydney. She is a Director of the Cancer Council NSW Board, and former Member of the Clinical Oncological Society of Australia (COSA) and Council. Haryana is the chair of the Psycho-Oncology Cooperative Research Group’s Scientific Advisory Committee and has leadership roles in supportive care and quality of life in the Australasian Lung Cancer Trials Group and the ANZ Urogenitary and Prostate Cancer Trials Group. Haryana co-leads a Cancer Survivorship Research Group based in the University of Sydney. The group is supported on peer-reviewed funding, allowing studies in cancer and cognition, physical activity in cancer populations, sleep disturbance and symptom control. She also maintains an active research interest in health literacy, communication in the cancer setting and patient education.
Carolina is an accredited exercise physiologist and post-doctoral fellow at the UNSW Fatigue Clinic and The National Centre for Cancer Survivorship at the University of NSW. She is the coordinator of the Fatigue Clinic program – a multidisciplinary program specialising in management of medically-unexplained fatigue disorders including post-cancer fatigue, post-infective fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome. Her recently awarded PhD focussed on investigating effective interventions for medically-unexplained fatigue states where a primary focus was conducting a Cancer Australia funded project evaluating a randomised control trial of graded exercise therapy and cognitive behaviour therapy in patients with post-cancer fatigue. She is also engaged in undergraduate exercise physiology teaching as a research supervisor as well as course convenor and lecturer for the cancer sciences course.
Nicki was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2011 (aged 41) while she was part-way through PhD studies in the UK. She underwent a year of what she calls ‘active’ treatment: chemotherapy, surgery and radiation. Once that was over, she tried to get back to her studies and a ‘normal’ life but kept on failing and couldn’t understand why. It was only when she returned to Sydney, late in 2012, that she was diagnosed with post-cancer fatigue by the UNSW Fatigue Clinic. Five years on, she has been unable to return to her studies or to work. During this time, however, she has tried various therapies and treatments and now has a greater understanding of her fatigue and is better able to manage her symptoms.