Cancer – Related Fatigue

Cancer – Related Fatigue

Fatigue is a very common complaint among cancer patients. Everyone experiences fatigue from time to time. This is how our bodies indicate the need for rest and sleep and is an expected feeling after certain activities or at day’s end. Usually a good night’s sleep will solve the problem. However, individuals with cancer can experience fatigue on a daily basis. This type of fatigue is a whole-body tiredness not relieved by sleep. Cancer-related fatigue can have an impact on an individual’s ability to function on a daily basis.

There are many causes of cancer-related fatigue including:

  • Treatment of cancer (chemotherapy, radiation)
  • Low hemoglobin (red blood cell) levels caused by treatment
  • Decreased nutrition, due to treatment side effects or to the cancer itself
  • Unrelieved pain
  • Increased stress
  • Inability to sleep at night

To treat cancer-related fatigue, the underlying cause must be treated. In addition, conserving energy, maintaining a balanced diet, exercising as tolerated, and stress management can help lessen fatigue. If you are experiencing cancer-related fatigue, speak with your nurse, nurse practitioner or doctor to prepare the best plan for you.