Fatigue is among the symptoms most commonly reported by cancer patients, and has profound impact on the patient’s quality of life and functioning at all stages of the illness trajectory.

Fatigue is also a common complaint after successful treatment for cancer, with reported prevalence rates of chronic fatigue (defined as high levels > 6 months) of around 30%.

Despite the increasing interest in fatigue as an acute or chronic symptom, there is still no concensus regarding its content, measurement and classification. Furthermore, there are few evidence-based guidelines for treatment.

The objective of this paper is to provide insight into fatique as a condition. Central aspects such as definitions, assessment methods and clinical implications are presented, exemplified by studies into long-term Hodgkin’s disease survivors. These issues are essential to the understanding of fatigue, for the interpretation of clinical studies and for the information, treatment and counselling of cancer patients.