This blog will give you regular, high-quality information about cancer. You'll also get to meet the info team and get updates on our projects. We hope you find it useful. And if there are any topics you'd like us to blog about, just let us know.
Cancer and its treatment can cause many symptoms, from tiredness and sleep problems to eating difficulties, bladder problems and skin changes. But there are also many treatments available and ways of managing these symptoms.
One of the most common problems for people with cancer is fatigue. This means feeling excessively tired or exhausted all or most of the time. It can be one of the most difficult and debilitating symptoms that people experience. But there are treatments available and there are things you can do for yourself to help with fatigue.
Order our free booklet Controlling the symptoms of cancer now. It discusses the different symptoms of cancer as well as treatments and techniques that can be used to control them. The booklet looks in detail at fatigue, eating and breathing difficulties, problems affecting the bladder, bowels and skin, fluid build-up and emotional effects. It also includes a symptom diary where you can keep track of how you're feeling. This can help you and your medical team to find your triggers and see which treatments are/aren’t working.
The cause of fatigue varies from person to person. Tell your doctors and nurses about your fatigue. This will help them give you the best care.
Fatigue may be due to the cancer itself, or it may be a result of other symptoms, including breathlessness, pain or anaemia (a low red blood cell count). It can be a side effect of cancer treatment or it can happen if your medication changes. Fatigue usually improves after cancer treatment has ended, but sometimes it remains a problem.
Some causes of fatigue can be treated; for example fatigue caused by anaemia can be helped by having a blood transfusion. But there are many things you can try yourself to help with fatigue:
Plan ahead – plan your most important activities for times when you know you’ll have more energy.
If you can make things easier, do – for example, do your shopping online rather than by going out and save your energy for something you enjoy.
You could think about rearranging your home to make things easier, such as having your bedroom as close to the toilet as possible.
Sit down for everyday tasks such as washing, dressing and preparing food.
Use a trolley to carry heavy items like laundry or shopping.
Mobile or cordless phones mean you don’t have to rush to answer the telephone.
Cook simpler meals to reduce the amount of time you spend in the kitchen.
Listen to audiobooks if you’re too tired to read.
Get help with any paperwork, such as filling in forms
Go for a walk – research has found that doing some exercise can help relieve the symptoms of fatigue. Going for a short walk can be a good start. Your doctor, nurse or physiotherapist can advise you about how much and which type of exercise would be helpful for you.
More helpful tips on controlling fatigue and other common symptoms of cancer can be found in our free booklet, Controlling the symptoms of cancer.
The Macmillan team is always here to help – if you’d like to talk to someone, please get in touch. We have a team of experts who can answer any questions you have, offer support, or simply listen if you need a chat. Call us free on 0808 808 00 00.
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