- Cancer Information
- Practical concerns
- Cancer, work and you
- For workers
- Coping with side effects
- Fatigue and tiredness
Fatigue and tiredness
Cancer and treatment can make you feel very tired and worn out. Job stress, shift work or standing for long periods may make you feel worse. Many people find that they cannot do as much as they normally could, but others are able to continue their usual activities.
Tips for managing fatigue
- Ask about changing your hours to arrive later if you have fatigue in the morning, or leave early if you’re tired in the afternoon.
- Plan meetings for times you tend to have more energy.
- Discuss your priorities with your manager to ensure you save your energy for the most important tasks.
- Ask permission to take breaks when you need to. Bring a pillow to work and find a quiet place where you can rest. If this isn’t possible, get some fresh air or take a short walk.
- If you don’t have the energy for physical tasks (e.g. lifting, driving), ask colleagues for help.
- Work from home if you can and rest when you need to.
- Ask your employer if they can give you a parking space. Find out if you are eligible for a disability parking permit.
- Bring your lunch or ask a workmate to get it for you.
- Save energy for work (e.g. get help with housework or have groceries delivered).
- Eat well and take care of your body. Regular exercise can help improve your mood and energy.
- Prioritise important or meaningful activities.
- Ask an occupational therapist or physiotherapist for ways to manage fatigue.
For more on this, see our general section on Fatigue and listen to the podcast below.
Podcast: Managing Cancer Fatigue
Brooke Russell, Principal Occupational Therapist, WA Cancer Occupational Therapy, WA; Bianca Alessi, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Dr Prunella Blinman, Medical Oncologist, Concord Cancer Centre, Concord Repatriation General Hospital, NSW; James Chirgwin, Physiotherapist, The Wesley Hospital, QLD; Danielle Curnoe, Consumer; Simon Gates, Barrister, Tasmanian Bar, TAS; Justin Hargreaves, Medical Oncology Nurse Practitioner, Bendigo Health Cancer Centre, VIC; Kaylene Jacques, Director, People and Communications, Cancer Council NSW; Alex Kelly, Senior People Attraction Advisor, Human Resources, Allianz Australia Insurance, NSW; Legal reviewer; Georgina Lohse, Social Worker, GV Health, VIC; Lesley McQuire, Consumer, Cancer Voices NSW.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.