Hester Hill Schnipper, LICSW, OSW-C Program Manager, Oncology Social Work
JUNE 13, 2017
Fatigue and nausea are inevitably listed as potential side effects from any cancer treatment. Fatigue is also frequently a long-lasting issue and may persist for quite a while after treatment concludes. Indeed I know some people who feel that they never regained their pre-cancer energy level. Cancer fatigue is not relieved by a nap or a brisk walk or a cup of something caffeinated. We have to learn other strategies.
One obvious suggestion is that we have to learn to plan. For example, if you want to attend a party Saturday evening, you need to plan to take it easy the rest of the day and probably to rest on Sunday. Think of your energy like a bank account: you will be making withdrawals, and you need to find ways to make deposits.
This good article is from ASCO's Cancer Net:
Cancer or cancer treatment may cause fatigue. This type of fatigue may feel like persistent physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion. Cancer related fatigue is different than feeling tired after not getting enough rest.
It interferes with daily life.
It does not match the person’s level of activity.
It does not improve with rest.
Most people receiving cancer treatment experience fatigue. Some will have fatigue that lasts months or years after finishing treatment.
If you experience fatigue, talk with your health care team. Share any new symptoms or changes in symptoms. Diagnosing and relieving symptoms and side effects is an important part of your cancer care. This is called supportive care or palliative care: http://www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-care/how-cancer-treated/palliative-care/caring-symptoms-cancer-and-its-treatment).
How fatigue affects quality of life
For some, cancer related fatigue is slightly bothersome. Others find that it makes life difficult, negatively affecting these aspects of life:
Mood and emotions.
Hobbies and other types of recreation.
Ability to cope with treatment.
Hope for the future.