Coping With Fatigue From Chemotherapy
Tips for Coping
- Plan your day so that you have time to rest.
- Take short naps or breaks, rather than one long rest period.
- Save your energy for the most important things.
- Try easier or shorter versions of activities that you enjoy.
- Take short walks and do light exercise, if possible. Exercise may help to reduce fatigue.
- Talk to your doctor about ways to save your energy and treat your fatigue. Certain medications may be helpful in reducing your symptoms depending on the cause of your fatigue.
- Try activities like meditation, yoga, guided imagery, and visualization.
- Consider alternative therapies like acupuncture.
- Eat as well as you can and drink plenty of fluids. Eat small amounts at a time, if that is helpful. Your doctor may have you work with a dietitian to make sure that you are meeting your nutritional needs.
- Limit the amount of caffeine and alcohol you drink.
- Join a support group. Sharing your feelings with others can ease the burden of fatigue. You can learn how others deal with their fatigue. Your doctor can connect you with a support group in your area. You may also find it helpful to work with a therapist.
- Ask family and friends to help you with household chores and shopping.
- Keep a diary of how you feel each day. This will help you plan your daily activities.
- Report any changes in energy level to your doctor.
American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org
National Cancer Institute http://www.cancer.gov
Canadian Cancer Society http://www.cancer.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Cancer-related fatigue. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders/cancer/hic%5Fcancer-related%5Ffatigue.aspx. Updated January 6, 2011. Accessed October 14, 2014.
Fatigue. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/TreatmentsandSideEffects/PhysicalSideEffects/DealingwithSymptomsatHome/caring-for-the-patient-with-cancer-at-home-fatigue. Updated November 5, 2013. Accessed October 14, 2014.
Fatigue (feeling weak and very tired). National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://cancer.gov/cancertopics/coping/chemo-side-effects/fatigue. Updated February 2012. Accessed October 14, 2014.
2/4/2013 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance. http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Molassiotis A, Bardy J, et al. Acupuncture for cancer-related fatigue in patients with breast cancer: a pragmatic randomized controlled trial. J Clin Oncol. 2012;30(36):4470-4476.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 09/2014 -
- Update Date: 10/14/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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