So What is Fatigue?
Fatigue is a common side effect of having breast cancer treatment, surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy and other related treatments.
While it is hard to describe to other people, the feelings experienced are well-documented.
Feelings associated with fatigue can include:
- Constant tiredness or weakness, even after getting adequate sleep
- A loss of interest in, or limiting, your daily activities
- Having no energy
- Trouble concentrating
- Depression and/or anxiety
How long fatigue lasts
Breast cancer treatment has a major effect on your body, and it takes time to recover.
Unfortunately, research shows that 30% of all cancer survivors will experience some level of persistent cancer- related fatigue post-treatment, and this fatigue can last months or even years.
The best ways to deal with fatigue
Fatigue will improve with time, so resting and adjusting your daily life will ensure a timely recovery.
It is so important to not overexert yourself if you suffer from fatigue.
Here are ten tips to conserve your energy and enjoy life when you are suffering from fatigue:
- Create a new routine and get up each day at the same time every morning, and go to bed at the same time each night.
- Eat a well balanced diet to maintain energy level. When we fatigue we tend to eat less.
- Take short naps of up to half an hour during the day if you are tired.
- Exercise regularly. Short amounts of gentle exercise, like yoga, walking or tai chi will help restore your energy levels.
- Keep a list of tasks and make notes of important things you need to remember to avoid any lapses in concentration and memory.
- Plan your day so you can conserve energy. Group tasks when you have the most energy and don’t have to rush.
- Think about new options. For example, rather than going to the supermarket, get your groceries delivered.
- Keep a diary of your energy levels and the tasks you perform to track your functioning.
- Get help if you if need. Talk to friends and family about how they can help, even if it is small tasks like the school run or hanging out the washing.
- Be kind to yourself and your needs. Don’t overdo it. While it is frustrating, be guided by your body and give it the time it needs to recover from the huge trauma of cancer treatment. Know that things will improve.
Want more information about fatigue?
Talk to your doctor or oncologist, or read more online:
The Australian Cancer Council Website offers information about managing symptoms from fatigue
The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre has a PDF booklet talking about cancer-relating fatigue
Icon Care has a PDF booklet to download which discusses Fatigue for cancer patients