Fatigue is a frequent symptom, linked to your cancer and its treatment. It may be increased by the side effects of the medication, by anxiety and by disturbed sleep.
Patients describe it as a sensation of extreme, perpetual exhaustion that is not alleviated either by sleep or rest. It may also manifest itself as despondency, difficulty concentrating or thinking, or a loss of willpower. To assess your level of tiredness, a scale from 0 (no fatigue) to 10 (the most extreme imaginable) is used.
- Save your energy and keep it for what matters most to you.
- Delegate difficult tasks or break them down over the course of the day or week, and set priorities.
- Ask help of your relatives, friends, caregivers and support systems (you can have a home help).
- Organize your day by alternating activity and rest.
- Make sure you eat a sufficient and balanced diet. Drink enough water.
- Keep up whatever physical activity you are capable of.
- Maintain your social life and do things you enjoy.
- Keep to your day/night routine as far as possible. Sleeping pills prescribed by your doctor may help.
Tell your doctor, your caregivers or your relatives and friends of your concerns. With their help you will find ways to get through these difficult moments. Sometimes you may need the help of a professional psychologist.
Additional ways of dealing with the problem
Relaxation and massage can reduce your feelings of tiredness and refresh you (ask your doctor for his approval). Yoga and relaxation are a good way to combat anxiety, stress and trouble sleeping. Valerian or hops can improve the quality of your sleep.
Physical exercise lessens one’s sense of fatigue. It is a source of well-being, improves breathing and maintains muscle mass. It produces a healthy kind of tiredness and restorative sleep and helps you to recover confidence in your body and your physical capacity. The best way to prevent tiredness is to get moving!
The Ligue Suisse contre le cancer brochure
Fatigue et cancer [Fatigue and cancer]
The leaflet Activité physique (FR) [Physical activity].
Download the sheet Fatigue