African American Women Share ‘Real Talk’ Stories About Fatigue Related to Breast Cancer Treatment

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The ABNF Journal

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Fatigue is the most common side effect experienced by women undergoing treatment for breast cancer. The fatigue experience of African American (AA) women who undergo breast cancer treatment has been understudied. The purpose of this qualitative exploratory study is to share stories of 10 AA women who experienced fatigue related to breast cancer treatment. AA women provided real talk descriptors of fatigue. Women expressed how physicians were supportive of their exercising to manage their fatigue. However, many women describe the medications prescribed for fatigue as not very helpful or even making them feel worse. Women shared use of complementary treatment approaches and that their physicians approved of such complementary treatment use. All the participants described how they relied on prayer for their spiritual strength to deal with the overwhelming effects of fatigue on their daily lives. An understanding by health care practitioners of the fatigue and coping experiences related to breast cancer among AA women can provide better ways for health care practitioners to treat and help their AA patients address fatigue symptoms.