News Release

November 1, 2005

Contact: Kristina Goodnough, 860-679-3700

UConn Health Center Seeks to Ease Cancer-Related Fatigue

New programs supported by Charlotte Johnson Hollfelder Foundation

FARMINGTON, Conn. – A new clinic at the Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center at the UConn Health Center offers treatment and support for the debilitating fatigue affecting many patients undergoing treatment for cancer.

“Many patients receiving treatment for cancer are seriously affected by fatigue,” says Jayesh Kamath, M.D., Ph.D., who established the clinic for cancer fatigue and is conducting research into its possible causes and treatments. “It can cause patients to quit their jobs or retreat from social activities and seriously disrupt their lives. And, there is a correlation between persistent fatigue and poor prognosis.” Unfortunately, he adds, many patients believe there is little that can be done about the condition.

In fact, serious fatigue in cancer patients is sometimes related to anemia, to thyroid problems or to electrolyte disturbances, all of which can be treated medically with generally good results, according to Kamath. “Fatigue in some cases can also be related to depression and anxiety. Treating the symptoms with medications and with individual or group therapy can benefit the patients.”

For those patients for whom there is no identifiable, reversible cause of the fatigue, Kamath and his colleagues in the Psychiatry Department are studying new treatments. “There is a hormone produced by the body which is believed to increase energy levels. We will be conducting a small clinical trial to examine its effect on fatigue in breast cancer patients. We also plan to study a small group of breast cancer patients to see if their fatigue is related to immune system dysfunction.”

The fatigue clinic is supported by a gift from Charlotte Johnson Hollfelder Foundation, which was established by Fred Hollfelder in honor of his wife, who survived breast cancer and died of an unrelated illness. “Support for the fatigue clinic is a way to honor my wife’s memory,” says Hollfelder. “She suffered from fatigue during her cancer treatment and I felt helpless. She would be delighted to know I was trying to do something for others.”

Patients who are interested in the cancer fatigue clinic can get more information by calling the Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center at 860-679-2100. For information about participation in clinical trials, call 1-877-252-2225.

IRB No. 05-269-2

UConn Health includes the schools of medicine and dental medicine, the UConn Medical Group, University Dentists, and John Dempsey Hospital. Home to Bioscience Connecticut, UConn Health pursues a mission of providing outstanding health care education in an environment of exemplary patient care, research and public service. More information about UConn Health is available at

Note: News professionals are invited to visit the UConn Health Today news page ( for regularly updated news and feature stories, photos and media stories. News releases are archived at UConn Health news and information is also available on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.