In this blog, Content Developer Azmina sets out practical tips for coping with fatigue caused by cancer or its treatment.
As many as 9 out of 10 people with cancer (90%) get cancer-related fatigue (CRF) at some point. If you have CRF, you may feel very tired or exhausted all or most of the time.
CRF is different from the everyday tiredness that people without cancer may experience. You may get tired quickly after small amounts of activity. Even after resting or sleeping, you may still feel exhausted.
It is possible to manage CRF and support is available. Your healthcare team may be able to help improve your quality of life.
What causes fatigue?CRF is complex and the causes are not fully understood. There are many possible reasons why you feel so tired, including:
Tips for managing fatigueCRF can affect your daily activities, but there are things you can do to manage fatigue:
If you have not been very active for a while, it is best to start slowly and get advice from your doctor or nurse. You could set yourself simple goals, like walking from the front door to the back door. Then try to walk a bit further around the house each time.
A physiotherapist can suggest exercises that are safe and suitable. You can also order our free Move More pack, which includes a DVD with gentle activity videos you can do at home.
Drink plenty of fluids and try different foods if you have taste changes, until things improve. If you have lost your appetite, you can eat regular, small portions of food rather than a big meal, or get high-calorie drinks on prescription. It may help to prepare extra food when you feel less tired and freeze it.
For more tips, you can read the information on our website or order our free booklet Coping with fatigue (tiredness). Call our Support Line free on 0808 808 00 00 (7 days a week, 8am to 8pm) to talk to an experienced cancer nurse about managing fatigue.
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Hi Angel68111, thanks for your comment. Sorry to hear that you're dealing with fatigue, but glad to read about your positive attitude! If you can, it's best to get advice from your cancer doctor, specialist nurse or GP before making changes to manage fatigue. Your GP or cancer doctor may be able to refer you to a specialist cancer physiotherapist to help you. You might also find it helpful to talk to a cancer information nurse specialist on the phone or on our online chat. Remember that calls to the Macmillan Support Line are free and confidential. You can call 0808 808 00 00 for a chat any day, between 8am and 8pm.Best wishes, Liza
Hi well today I finished my radiotherapy it’s been hard but i have tried to keep positive through this. One of my main problems is tiredness. How far of a walk should I do and any good exercises I could do I had stage 1 grade 3 invasive ductal breast cancer the tumour was removed and a lymph node. I’m now on letrozol.
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