It is common to feel very tired and lack energy during and after cancer treatment. Your tiredness may continue for a while after treatment has finished. Some people find it takes them a few years to feel well again.
Tips for managing fatigue
- Plan your day. Set small manageable goals and rest before you get too tired.
- Keep your schedule as regular as possible, e.g. avoid sleeping in, go to bed at your usual time and take a short nap if you get tired throughout the day.
- Ask for and accept offers of help from family and friends, e.g. with shopping, errands and childcare.
- Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet to keep energy levels up.
- Regular light to moderate exercise has been shown to reduce fatigue. Even a walk around the block can help. Talk to your doctor about the amount and type of exercise suitable for you. A physiotherapist or exercise physiologist can develop a program that is right for you.
- Don’t expect to be able to instantly do everything you used to do right away. Gradually increase the amount of activity you do each day.
Podcast: Managing Cancer Fatigue
A/Prof Alison Brand, Director, Gynaecological Oncology, Westmead Hospital, NSW; Ellen Barlow, Clinical Nurse Consultant, Royal Hospital for Women, NSW; Jane Conroy-Wright, Consumer; Rebecca James, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Suparna Karpe, Clinical Psychologist, Gynaecological Oncology, Westmead Hospital, NSW; Dr Pearly Khaw, Consultant Radiation Oncologist, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Sally McCoull, Consumer; A/Prof Orla McNally, Gynaecological Oncologist and Director, Oncology/Dysplasia, The Royal Women’s Hospital, and Director, Gynaecology Tumour Stream,Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, VIC; Haley McNamara, Social Worker and Project Manager, Care at End of Life Project, Queensland Health, QLD; Tamara Wraith, Senior Clinician – Physiotherapy, The Royal Women’s Hospital, VIC.
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