Screening for fatigue in adolescent and young adult pediatric brain tumor survivors: accuracy of a single-item screening measure

Sarah McCarthy, Christine Chordas, Cori Liptak, Peter Manley, Christopher Recklitis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is one of the most commonly reported and distressing symptoms experienced by adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer survivors. While national guidelines have recommended screening for CRF during routine follow-up appointments, the validity of using a one-item screening measure for fatigue has not been examined with AYA brain tumor survivors. The purpose of this study is to assess how well a single-item fatigue screen could identify clinically significant fatigue in childhood brain tumor survivors. Methods: A single-item measure, the Fatigue Thermometer (FT), was compared with a more in-depth measure, the Multidimensional Fatigue Scale (MFS), in a cohort of AYA pediatric brain tumor survivors. One hundred and forty-two survivors (aged 12–32 years) completed the two instruments. Results: Forty-two survivors were identified on the MFS as having clinically significant fatigue, but the FT was not found to be an accurate tool for identifying these cases. Although receiver operating characteristic curve analysis of FT ratings against the MFS criterion indicated good concordance between measures, no cutoff score on the FT was identified that resulted in acceptable sensitivity and specificity. Conclusions: Results from this study suggest that a single-item screening measure for fatigue is not able to reliably identify clinically significant fatigue in AYA brain tumor survivors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3581-3587
Number of pages7
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016
Externally publishedYes



  • Brain tumors
  • Late effects
  • Outcomes research
  • Psychosocial
  • Quality of life
  • Support care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

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