Many women who are treated for cervical cancer find that tiredness is a major issue, particularly if they have both radiation therapy and chemotherapy. The tiredness may continue for several months, or even a year or two, after treatment has finished.
Feeling tired is not only a side effect of the treatment itself. Travelling to hospitals and clinics for treatment can be exhausting. If you work during your treatment or if you have a family to care for, this can make you feel especially tired.
It may be frustrating if other people don’t understand how you’re feeling, but our support services can help you navigate these challenging times.
Tips for managing fatigue
- Plan to do things at the time of day when you feel less tired. Keep a journal to track your “good times”.
- Talk with your family and friends about how you’re feeling and discuss things they can help you with, e.g. housework and shopping.
- Do some light exercise, such as walking or stretching, to help increase your energy levels. Ask your doctor if these activities are suitable for you.
- Limit daytime naps to 30 minutes so they don’t make it hard to sleep at night.
- Don’t expect to be able to instantly do everything you used to do. Your body is still recovering and it will take time for your energy levels to return.
A/Prof Penny Blomfield, Gynaecological Oncologist, Hobart Women’s Specialists, and Chair, Australian Society of Gynaecological Oncologists, TAS; Karina Campbell, Consumer; Carmen Heathcote, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Queensland; Dr Pearly Khaw, Consultant Radiation Oncologist, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; A/Prof Jim Nicklin, Director, Gynaecological Oncology, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, and Associate Professor Gynaecologic Oncology, The University of Queensland; Prof Martin K Oehler, Director, Gynaecological Oncology, Royal Adelaide Hospital, SA; Dr Megan Smith, Program Manager – Cervix, Cancer Council NSW; Pauline Tanner, Cancer Nurse Coordinator – Gynaecology, WA Cancer & Palliative Care Network, WA; Tamara Wraith, Senior Clinician, Physiotherapy Department, The Royal Women’s Hospital, VIC. We also thank the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title.
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