Cancer-related fatigue can be caused by the disease itself or the treatment and could potentially last for weeks, months, or even years. It can even continue after treatment ends. Fatigue can and should be expected when undergoing cancer treatment.
Cancer fatigue is different from your everyday fatigue. It is not merely tiredness, which is usually short-term and improves with sleep or rest. Cancer fatigue doesn’t go away with sleep or rest. It can be severe and long-lasting. Cancer fatigue limits your range of motion, weakens your muscles, and makes it harder to balance.
Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. That growth requires energy, and cancer absorbs energy that would otherwise go to the rest of the body. Cancer uses your body’s nutrients to grow and advance, so those nutrients are no longer replenishing your body. Between 80% and 100% of cancer patients, according to the American Cancer Society, report experiencing fatigue.
Fatigue is one of the toughest symptoms to manage and one that requires a tremendous amount of effort. Patients say it is one of the most challenging effects of having cancer.
Cancer Fatigue May Impact:
- Physical well-being
- Psychological well-being
- Emotional well-being
Cancer Fatigue Symptoms:
- feeling heavy
- feeling depressed
- having no energy
- feeling helpless
These symptoms can make it very difficult for the individual to perform their normal physical activities such as walking, eating, etc. These symptoms can often temporarily get better or resolve completely once the individual has finished chemotherapy. Fortunately, there are a few ways to help manage cancer fatigue.
Tips for Managing Cancer Fatigue:
- Plan rest periods throughout the day
- Maintain proper nutrition
- Stay as active as you can
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day
- Establish a regular sleeping routine
- Communicate with your healthcare team
- Keep track of your fatigue from day to day
- Conserve your energy
- Eat foods that will give you energy such as fish, chicken, eggs, fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Adjust your work schedule
- Find support from others
Click here to learn more about managing cancer-related fatigue.
Cancer-Related Fatigue Programs
In addition to these steps, visiting a physical therapist can help alleviate your fatigue. You should incorporate physical therapy into your recovery process. After cancer treatment, any amount of physical activity can lessen side effects, aid in body recovery, and fight depression. Our physical therapist will design a personalized plan of care for each patient, with tailored exercise regimens to help with the number of issues that can result from cancer and its treatments. These programs are there to improve strength, help cope with symptoms, as well as monitor the patient’s process through treatment, and keep their energy levels up. Physical therapy cancer fatigue programs also improve balance, posture, and endurance and also help decrease depression by increasing endorphins.
We want to help you get back to doing what you love and regain your quality of life.