The purpose of this study was to describe the experience of cancer-related fatigue in children of different ages in Taiwan. A total of 17 children with different stages of cancer were interviewed. The methods of data collection included interviews, participants' observations, medical chart reviews and the researcher's reflexive journals. Data were progressively analysed by using qualitative data analysis method throughout the process of data collection. The results indicated that children in all age groups used the word 'tiredness' or 'weary' instead of 'fatigue'. Patients in different age groups described the fatigue differently. Younger children (<9 years) reported that fatigue affected their ability to participate in physical activities. Children aged 10-12 years described fatigue as extreme tiredness that affected their daily lives both physically and psychosocially by altering their daily routine and school attendance and performance. Adolescents described fatigue as unrelievable tiredness that differed from normal tiredness and had a great impact on physical and psychosocial aspect, particularly altering their future life plans and self-performance. This study shows that the definition and impact of fatigue differs among children by age group. Defining and understanding the effects of fatigue can help clinicians assess fatigue and implement effective strategies to alleviate it.
- Qualitative study
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