Fatigue is the most common symptom experienced by people with cancer who are receiving cancer treatment. You may feel tired at certain times of day, tired all the time, or too tired to participate in activities of daily living and self-care. You may be tired from your cancer, tired from the effects of treatment or both.
Fatigue is caused by cancerous tumors, low blood counts, poor nutrition, cell death and repair due to chemotherapy and radiotherapy, mental exhaustion, worry, stress, pain, spending too much time in bed and medications used for treatment or comfort.
- Diet and Exercise
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can interfere with the sleep cycle
- Engage in moderate exercise (e.g., a daily walk down the street) to boost energy
- Drink a lot of water to help prevent dehydration, which can increase fatigue
- Practice good sleep hygiene. Go to bed in a darkened room at the same time each night.
- Schedule naps and quiet time during the day.
- Schedule time for visitors or phone calls.
- If your fatigue becomes severe, your doctor may prescribe medication to help reduce fatigue.
When To Call The Doctor
Call your doctor within 24 hours if you have any of the following:
- Loss of balance
- Inability to get out of bed for more than 24 hours
- Severe shortness of breath
- Worsening fatigue and other symptoms