Fighting cancer-related fatigue

August 24, 2018

Are you experiencing cancer-related fatigue?

After your cancer treatment, are you feeling extremely exhausted? Are you constantly feeling physically, emotionally and mentally tired? Do you feel like you do not have enough energy to do your daily routine? And even with rest, it is not going away?

What is cancer-related fatigue?

Cancer related-fatigue or cancer fatigue is the most common side effect of cancer and cancer treatment. Cancer fatigue may affect your ability to move and quality of life. But there are ways to reduce cancer fatigue.

Is it fatigue or cancer fatigue?

Cancer fatigue is different from fatigue you may feel from time to time. Fatigue is when your body and mind is tried. It means you have less energy to do daily life tasks. Cancer fatigue is when even with rest, it is very tiring to do daily tasks. These tasks may include eating, walking or talking on the phone.

Managing cancer-related fatigue

  • Exercise. Talk with your cancer care team to come up with an exercise plan for you. Walking, yoga or stretching may help reduce cancer fatigue. The Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI) offers cancer rehabilitation services. This service helps patients personalize their own exercise plan. Please call 206-215-6333 for more information. 
  • Nutrition counseling. Staying hydrated will help get rid of waste products from your treatment. Talk with a dietitian to make sure you are getting enough nutrients and fluids during treatment. Please call 206-215-6213 for more information or to schedule an appointment. 
  • Mental health. Taking care of your mental health to reduce anxiety and/or stress may help with fatigue. For more information, please call our SCI oncology social worker team at 206-386-3228. 
  • Relaxation. Yoga, meditation, music or art therapy can help lessen symptoms you may be feeling. Please call the Cancer Education Center to learn more about free classes at 206-386-3200.

Speak with your cancer care team

While cancer fatigue is the most common side effect, it is important to speak with your care team if you have any concerns.

Resources 
National Comprehensive Cancer Network. (2017). Fighting cancer fatigue. Retrieved from https://www.nccn.org/patients/resources/life_with_cancer/fatigue.aspx 
Rosenbaum, E. H., & Rosenbaum, I. R. (2001). Cancer-related fatigue. Supportive cancer care: the complete guide for patients and their families (pp. 87-94). Naperville, Illinois: Sourcebooks, Inc.

This article is from the Fall 2018 issue of Life to the Fullest, the newsletter from the Swedish Cancer Institute dedicated to those with cancer, cancer survivors, and their family members and caregivers.

Topics: Cancer, Wellness