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Bright Light Therapy for Cancer-related Fatigue in a Palliative Care Unit: A Feasibility Study

      Cancer related fatigue (CRF) is a very common symptom among palliative care patients as over 80% of them reported at least a moderate level of fatigue measured by the Brief Fatigue Inventory (BFI).
      • Iwase S
      • Kawaguchi T
      • Tokoro A
      • et al.
      Assessment of cancer-related fatigue, pain, and quality of life in cancer patients at palliative care team referral: a multicenter observational study (JORTC PAL-09).
      Locally, we found that more than half of the patients in the palliative care in-patient unit (PCU) complained of fatigue,
      • Lo RS
      • Ding A
      • Chung TK
      • Woo J.
      Prospective study of symptom control in 133 cases of palliative care inpatients in Shatin Hospital.
      which continued to trouble 41% of patients in their last two weeks of life.
      • Lo RS
      • Woo J
      • Zhoc KC
      • et al.
      Quality of life of palliative care patients in the last two weeks of life.
      Among the various treatments for fatigue, bright light therapy (BLT) emerged as a potentially useful non-pharmacological treatment. Efficacy of BLT in palliative care patients with advanced cancer has been tested by Bruera et al by a two-week placebo-controlled trial in the out-patient setting.
      • Dev RD-GM
      • De L
      • Cruz M
      • Rhondali W
      • Hui D
      • Bruer E.
      Feasibility of a randomized controlled trial of light therapy in cancer patients with insomnia.
      However, the recruitment rate was low (12.4%) and the attrition rate was high (66.6%). As BLT requires relatively low input from patients when compared to other non-pharmacological treatments such as exercise or psychological intervention, it seems to be an ideal treatment for hospitalized palliative care patients who are more likely to be frail and ill. This study aimed to investigate the feasibility of administering BLT in advanced cancer patients during their hospitalization in a PCU.
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