It is common to feel very tired and lack energy during or after treatment. Fatigue for people with cancer is different from tiredness as it doesn’t always go away with rest or sleep. Most people who have chemotherapy will start treatment before they have had time to fully recover from their operation.
Fatigue may continue for a while after chemotherapy has finished, but it is likely to gradually improve over time. In some cases, it may take a year or two to feel well again.
Tips for managing fatigue
- Plan your day. Set small, manageable goals and rest before you get too tired.
- Ask for and accept offers of help with tasks such as cleaning and shopping.
- Eat healthy, well-balanced meals to keep your energy levels up.
- Do some regular light exercise. This has been shown to boost energy levels and make you feel less tired.
- Talk to your doctor about what type of exercise would be suitable for you or ask for a referral to a physiotherapist exercise physiologist.
Podcast: Managing Cancer Fatigue
Dr Nisha Jagasia, Gynaecological Oncologist, Mater Hospital Brisbane, QLD; Sue Hayes, Consumer; Bronwyn Jennings, Gynaecology Oncology Clinical Nurse Consultant, Mater Health, QLD; Dr Andrew Lee, Radiation Oncologist, Canberra Region Cancer Centre and Canberra Hospital, ACT; A/Prof Tarek Meniawy, Medical Oncologist, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, WA; Caitriona Nienaber, Cancer Council WA; Jane Power, Consumer; A/Prof Sam Saidi, Senior Staff Specialist, Gynaecological Oncology, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, NSW.
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