Cancer-Related Fatigue

What is Fatigue?

Generally speaking, fatigue is the feeling of being very, very tired. Some facts patients should know about fatigue include:

  • It means you are not able to do the things you usually do.
  • It affects the things that you do, such as talking on the telephone, eating, or sleeping.
  • Rest does not make it better.
  • It is the most common side effect of cancer treatment.
  • Only you know if you have fatigue and how bad it is.

What Should You Look For?

Some symptoms to look for if you believe you are feeling fatigued include:

  • Feeling like you have no energy
  • Sleeping a lot
  • Not wanting to do normal activities
  • Not being able to do normal activities
  • Not caring about the way you look
  • Feeling tired even after sleeping
  • Having trouble thinking

What Can You Do?

Some steps you can take to alleviate fatigue include:

  • Rest, But Not Too Much
    • Rest in-between activities
  • Stay Active
    • Stay as active as you can
    • Exercising, such as walking, can make you feel better
  • Save Your Energy
    • Plan ahead
    • Spread your activities throughout the day
    • Do your most important activities first
  • Get Help With Tasks
    • Don't overdo it
    • Ask your family or friends to help you do things
  • Get Support
    • Think about joining a support group
    • Talk about how you are feeling with others
  • Eat Well
    • Drink 6 - 8 glasses of water a day
    • Eat small meals during the day
  • Call Your Nurse or Doctor
    • Call your nurse or doctor if you feel more tired than usual

How Long Will Fatigue Last?

Once your treatment is over, the fatigue will slowly go away over time.