Handgrip exercise may help assess cancer-related fatigue
Pilot study looks at handgrip fatiguing exercises as a subjective assessment
Handgrip fatiguing exercise can provide objective assessment of cancer related fatigue: a pilot study.
Cancer related fatigue (CRF) is a frequently observed and reported outcome of cancer or its treatment. It is associated with significant disability, profoundly limited quality of life and possibly decreases survival.
Experience is subjective and conventionally assessed using self-report measures; however, the reliance on reflective recall can lead to bias and it is recognised that many patients under-report the experience. As such, the need to develop objective measures to optimise assessment and therefore more suitable management is acknowledged.
In this French pilot study, 14 women with advanced breast cancer who were or had recently experienced chemotherapy, and a control group of eleven healthy women, underwent a fatigue handgrip exercise to see if it correlated with the multidimensional experience of CRF.
The study participants’ quality of life was recorded using two recognised scales, the EORTC QLC-30 and FA12; the study measured mechanical parameters such as maximal grip force and fatigability via repeated handgrip contractions.
The results suggested that many of the measures of handgrip fatigue were associated with the diverse elements of the experience of CRF. Measures of maximal force and critical force were associated with physical fatigue; cognitive fatigue was associated with critical force.
The authors suggest this test may offer a complementary approach to assessment; however, they acknowledge methodological limitations and advocate further investigation of this novel approach to clinical assessment.