A study looking at a quality of life questionnaire for cancer fatigue

Cancer type:

All cancer types





This study looked at how well a quality of life questionnaire measures tiredness (fatigue) caused by cancer.

More about this trial

Cancer and its treatment can cause fatigue. This can affect people’s daily life, social life and quality of life. So it is important that health care professionals can measure the level of fatigue and how it affects people.

The study team had developed a questionnaire to help do this. It was called EORTC QLQ FA13. But they needed to make sure it asked the right questions so that doctors can assess fatigue accurately.

The aim of this study was to find out how well this questionnaire measures fatigue caused by cancer.

Summary of results

The research team were able to test and update the questionnaire to measure fatigue caused by cancer or cancer treatment.

This study recruited people in 2013 and 2014, and the results were published in 2017.

This study recruited more than 900 people who had been diagnosed with cancer. This included:

  • 311 people having treatment aimed at curing their cancer
  • 222 people having treatment to help relieve symptoms of advanced cancer
  • 212 people who finished treatment between 12 and 18 months before joining the study and had no signs of cancer
  • 199 people who finished treatment between 3 and 6 years before joining the study and had no signs of cancer

Everyone taking part filled out the EORTC QLQ FA13 questionnaire. People having treatment completed it before, during and after treatment. People who had finished treatment completed it twice, at least one week apart.

The questionnaire asked them about how much fatigue had affected different parts of their life during the last week. It included areas such as:

  • lacking energy or feeling exhausted
  • feeling helpless or frustrated
  • having trouble thinking clearly or getting confused
  • whether they were able to do normal, day to day activities

The research team analysed the results and found that the questionnaire did accurately measure the level of fatigue in people with cancer. They found that one of the questions was not very useful, so they removed it from the questionnaire.

The results showed that:

  • fatigue was worse for people with more advanced cancer that had spread
  • fatigue was not as bad for people having radiotherapy compared to other treatments
  • people with higher levels of fatigue had a lower quality of life

The research team were able to test the questionnaire and confirm that it can be used to measure fatigue. The final version is now called EORTC QLQ FA12. It is available from the EORTC Quality of Life Department in 11 languages for doctors around the world to use.

We have based this summary on information from the research team. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) and published in a medical journal. The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team who did the research. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Dr Elizabeth Anne Lanceley

Supported by

European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

If you have questions about the trial please contact our cancer information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:


Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Last reviewed:

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