It is common to feel very tired and lack energy during and after treatment. This can be a side effect of the treatment itself or a symptom of menopause. Travelling to hospitals and clinics for treatment and appointments can be exhausting. Dealing with your emotions can also cause fatigue. Your tiredness may continue for a while after treatment has finished.
Fatigue may affect your ability to keep working or care for your home and family. It may help to talk with your family and friends about how you feel, and discuss ways they can help you.
Tips for managing fatigue
- Plan your day. Set small, manageable goals so you can rest regularly, and allow yourself plenty of time to get to appointments.
- Ask for and accept offers of help from family and friends, e.g. with shopping, housework and driving.
- Learn to recognise signs of tiredness before you feel exhausted.
- Talk to your employer about taking time off, reducing your hours or working from home.
- Do some regular exercise − even a walk around the block can boost energy levels. Evidence shows that exercise reduces cancer-related fatigue, so talk to your specialist or GP about what activities are right for you. You can ask for a referral to an exercise physiologist or physiotherapist.
- Eat nutritious foods to keep our energy levels up, and limit your alcohol intake.
A/Prof Alison Brand, Director, Gynaecological Oncology, Westmead Hospital, NSW; Kate Barber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Victoria; Prof Jonathan Carter, Director, Gynaecological Oncology, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, NSW; Dr Robyn Cheuk, Senior Radiation Oncologist, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, QLD; Dr Alison Davis, Medical Oncologist, Canberra Region Cancer Centre, The Canberra Hospital, ACT; Kim Hobbs, Clinical Specialist Social Worker, Westmead Hospital, NSW; Nicole Kinnane, Nurse Coordinator, Gynaecology Oncology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Jennifer Loveridge, Consumer; Pauline Tanner, Gynaecology Cancer Nurse Coordinator, WA Cancer & Palliative Care Network, North Metropolitan Health Service, WA. We also thank the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title.
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