Although fatigue is one of the most common and debilitating symptoms experienced by cancer patients, it has received little systematic attention. This situation is due in large part to the lack of adequate instruments to measure fatigue. The primary aim of this study was to validate a newly developed measure of fatigue for use with cancer patients: the Fatigue Symptom Inventory (FSI). This 13 item self-report measure was designed to measure the intensity and duration of fatigue and its impact on quality of life. The psychometric properties of the FSI were assessed in women undergoing treatment for breast cancer, women who had completed treatment for breast cancer and women with no history of cancer. A seven-item interference subscale was found to have good internal consistency, with alpha coefficients above 0.90 in all three groups. The complete FSI was found to have rather weak to moderate test-retest reliability among patients in active treatment and healthy comparison subjects assessed on three separate occasions. Convergent validity was demonstrated using comparisons with existing measures of fatigue. Construct validity was demonstrated using comparisons between and within groups as well as comparisons with measures of anxiety and depression. Overall, the FSI was established as a valid and reliable measure of fatigue in cancer patients and healthy individuals. Suggestions are made for the potential application of the measure in clinical research.