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Longitudinal Investigation of cancer-related Fatigue and its Treatment (LIFT project)


Project Coordination

Prof. Dr. Karen Steindorf, Dr. Martina Schmidt, Prof. Dr. Imad Maatouk


Cancer-related fatigue is one of the most frequent symptoms during and after cancer therapy and can considerably impair quality of life, daily functioning and return to work. Although therapeutic approaches, such as exercise training and psychosocial interventions, have shown significant effects, fatigue is often insufficiently treated and sometimes inadequately diagnosed or even disregarded. Recommendations for care of fatigue including structured screening, evaluation, counseling, and interventions appear insufficiently established in clinical practice in Germany. Among healthcare professionals, there seems to be large heterogeneity in the level of knowledge, attitudes, and support provided regarding cancer-related fatigue. Likewise, cancer patients often have a lack of knowledge, false beliefs, and unmet needs regarding fatigue. However, profound investigations of these issues and reliable data on the actual fatigue management in Germany are still lacking.

Therefore, our LIFT project aims to thoroughly investigate the current status of cancer-related fatigue management in Germany from the institutional, professionals', and patients' perspective. The project follows a multimodal approach including a comprehensive assessment of fatigue management and support offered by different institutions (uncertified hospitals, uncertified oncological practices, counselling units, certified cancer centers; n=350), a survey and qualitative interviews among physicians, nurses and psycho-oncologists (n=490). The patients' perspective on fatigue management is assessed by a longitudinal survey (n=1400) and focus groups. Principal aims of the LIFT project are to investigate the characteristics, patterns, and potential effects or shortcomings of the current fatigue management. The findings shall provide a basis to identify and overcome shortcomings in the actual fatigue management in Germany, and, to eventually ameliorate this severe burden in cancer patients and survivors.

Current status

Recruitment of patients for the longitudinal survey was completed in January 2023.The assessment timepoints t2, t3 are still ongoing, t4 started in March 2023. The surveys among healthcare professionals were completed in autumn 2022.


Marlena Milzer
phone: +49 6221 42 2207


The study is funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft – DFG).

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