This paper proposes ‘QuickPIPER’, a 15-item, validated one-dimensional model representing cancer-related fatigue, based on factor analysis testing of the Piper Fatigue Scale-revised (R-PFS). One hundred and eleven breast cancer survivors participated in this prospective, observational study of the QuickPIPER validation. Participants completed the R-PFS and the Profile of Mood States (POMS) Fatigue and Vigor subscales. The questionnaires were tested concurrently before and after a multimodal exercise programme trial. Psychometric characteristics assessed from the sample included internal consistency and factor analysis, concurrent criterion validity and predictive ability. The results shows that the correlation matrix for the QuickPIPER questionnaire was determined as suitable with the Kaiser–Meyer–Oklin values (0.89) and Bartlett's Test of Sphericity (P < 0.001). The total cumulative variance explained was 65.32%. The goodness-of-fit indices of confirmatory factor analysis were satisfactory (normed fit index = 0.91 and comparative fit index = 0.92). Test–retest reliability was very good (r = 0.947, P < 0.001). The QuickPIPER scores correlated with POMS Fatigue (r = 0.800) and POMS Vigor (r = −0.352) subscales. Predictive ability showed that the area under the curves for the screening questionnaires was 0.743 (95% confidence interval 0.579–0.906). The 15-item QuickPIPER possesses similar properties to the 22-item R-PFS and offers the important advantage of brevity.