Fatigue

Fatigue Management

If you experience cancer-related fatigue, the specialists in our Cancer Rehab & Wellness Center can help.
Call 816.691.1795.

Fatigue is one of the most common problems for cancer patients. It is a mental or physical tiredness that is not relieved by rest, and it can make you feel as if you lost all your energy. While people with cancer frequently experience fatigue after undergoing radiation or chemo, anyone with cancer may have it.

Cancer fatigue differs from other fatigue in that it:

  • Doesn’t necessarily result from activity or exertion
  • Is not relieved by rest
  • Is unpredictable and can be intense
  • May come on suddenly
  • May improve with physical activity

Signs of Fatigue

There are some common ways people with cancer fatigue look or act when they feel tired. Patients may experience all or none of these signs.

  • Desire to sleep more often
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty starting or completing daily tasks
  • Feels like crying often
  • Outlook on life changes noticeably
  • Pale skin, feels shaky
  • Slow speech

Managing Fatigue

It can be frustrating to feel tried all the time. Knowing what causes the fatigue will help determine how to manage it and reduce the severity. What works for one person may not work for another. Making the time and effort to determine what works best for you can make a big difference.

Exercise is the best way to address cancer-related fatigue. Moderate exercise, such as walking, can improve symptoms. Your doctor may prescribe an exercise program to help relieve the fatigue and improve your quality of life. Physical therapists who specialize in cancer fatigue can help create an individualized exercise program that increases endurance, strength and functional mobility.

You can also:

  • Identify and eliminate or treat the cause (anemia, for example)
  • Improve sleep quality
  • Increase your nutritional intake
  • Learn more about cancer-related fatigue
  • Practice fatigue management activities and energy conservation
  • Practice relaxation techniques
  • Try massage and healing touch
  • Work with your physician to get pain under control

The fatigue gradually lessens after treatment is complete, and a normal energy level returns over time. You will have more energy as the weeks and months pass.