Managing Cancer Fatigue

MANAGING FATIGUE

Cancer-related fatigue is the most common and often the most distressing side effect experienced by people with cancer, including melanoma. It is different from the fatigue everyone has from time to time; it is usually more severe, lasts longer, and can take a heavy toll on your quality of life. Resting more or doing less does not make it go away. You may not have the energy to accomplish all of your daily tasks. That’s okay. There are strategies you can use to manage fatigue, save energy, and take steps to reduce fatigue. Here are some tips.

How to Save Your Energy

Be patient with yourself

You may not be able to do as much as you did before cancer treatment. This might mean your house isn’t as clean or you don’t have time to cook from scratch. Be kind to yourself by accepting imperfection.

Set priorities

Decide what activities need to be done each day and which ones can be delayed. Do the important ones first. Schedule important activities during the times of day when you tend to have more energy.

Ask for help

Which tasks drain your energy? Let others help you with shopping, cooking, cleaning, gardening or looking after kids or pets.

Schedule rest

Which tasks drain your energy? Let others help you with shopping, cooking, cleaning, gardening or looking after kids or pets.

Get enough sleep

Try to limit naps to 20 minutes during the day. Avoid caffeine (in the afternoon and evening) and alcohol so they don’t affect your sleep. Avoid too much stimulation (physical or mental) before going to bed.

Restore your mind and spirit

Spend time outdoors or doing relaxing activities you enjoy like arts and crafts or listening to music.

HOW TO REDUCE FATIGUE

1) Talk to your healthcare team about fatigue. They can help identify any medical reasons that may be causing or worsening your fatigue.

2) Stay well-nourished and hydrated.  Getting all of the nutrients your body needs can help you maintain your weight and strength, stay active and support your recovery – all important factors in managing cancer-related fatigue. You may also ask a dietitian about catering services in your community for people undergoing treatment.  Click here for more information on how to stay nourished and hydrated

3) Be active. Research shows that regular exercise is the best strategy to help reduce cancer-related fatigue. If you are already exercising, try to stay as active as possible during your treatment. You may have to lower the intensity or change the type of exercise. Some activity is better than none. Click herto

Video: How to manage cancer-related fatigue

Dr. Mike Evans is founder of the Health Design Lab at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, an Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of Toronto, and a staff physician at St. Michael’s Hospital.

HOW TO BE ACTIVE

Research shows that regular exercise is the best strategy to help reduce cancer-related fatigue.

HOW TO STAY WELL NOURISHED AND HYDRATED

Getting all of the nutrients your body needs can help you maintain your weight and strength, stay active and support your recovery

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER

Menu