Surviving Cancer

Fatigue

Fatigue, or feeling extremely tired, is the most common complaint during the first year after cancer treatment ends. Cancer-related fatigue is different from everyday fatigue. Rest or sleep does not help it. For some survivors, fatigue is mild and temporary, but for others it can last for months after treatment and makes daily activities difficult.

Many Possible Causes

Doctors do not know the exact cause of treatment-related fatigue, but many factors may contribute. The causes seem to be different for people who are undergoing treatment than for those who have finished treatment.

Fatigue during treatment can be caused by cancer therapy. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and other therapies may cause fatigue. Other problems such as anemia (having too few red blood cells), stress, poor nutrition, lack of exercise, and depression may be linked to this type of fatigue. Researchers are still learning about what may cause fatigue to linger after treatment ends.

What Can You Do About Fatigue?

If you’re feeling fatigued, the best thing you can do is talk to your doctor or health care professionals about it. Ask them about the medications you are taking and if they could affect your energy level. Talk to them about how to manage any pain, nausea, or depression you may have. They may also be able to suggest medications or nutritional supplements that may help lessen your fatigue.

Here are some other ways you can manage or cope with your fatigue.