Fatigue is an ongoing subject of cancer and treatment that researchers continue to study in order to determine its origins: does fatigue derive from the cancer, from the treatment or from a combination of the two. Logically, it might seem to us who are in active treatment whether we are on biological, hormonal or cytotoxic treatment, or taking a break, many of us know intimately the sensation of overwhelming fatigue. This is my alternate week off of Xeloda®, my current chemo, and I am searching everywhere for a little dose of energy in the hope that I can get myself out the door. I detest being inside, even when I don’t feel good, but sometimes the fatigue is as limiting as feeling sick from the nausea or the hand-foot syndrome that accompanies this particular regimen. Maybe I’ll have some help.
In reviewing articles online this morning, I came across an abstract from a group of researchers from the Mayo Clinic who presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) earlier this month results of a phase III study of more than 300 participants that ginseng extract in capsule form proved to ease fatigue measured on a standardized scale rating fatigue over four weeks and eight weeks. The measurements after eight weeks showed significant improvement in fatigue for the participants who were given ginseng versus participants who were given placebo. Studies of ginseng report that participants who are healthy do not report a change in levels of energy or fatigue, while participants who are experiencing challenges in their health that include an increase in fatigue report feeling less fatigued. Naturally, I will check with my oncologist before I buy any ginseng to add to my daily schedule of pills, but it sounds like it might be worth a try.
Debra L. Barton, Heshan Liu, Shaker R. Dakhil, Breanna M. Linquist, Jeff A. Sloan, Craig R. Nichols, Travis W. McGinn, Ernie P. Balcueva, Grant R. Seeger, Charles L. Loprinzi; Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN; Cancer Center of Kansas, Wichita, KS; Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA; Spartanburg Regional Medical Center, Spartanburg, SC; Michigan Cancer Research Consortium, Ann Arbor, MI; Altru Cancer Center, Grand Forks, ND. Phase III evaluation of American ginseng (panax quinquefolius) to improve cancer-related fatigue: NCTG trial N)7C2. J Clin Oncol 30, 2012 (suppl; abstr 9001)5 6 7 8
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