Cancer Related Fatigue
Hester Hill Schnipper, LICSW, OSW-C Program Manager, Oncology Social Work
JANUARY 12, 2017
Any of us who have gone through cancer treatment have experienced some level of cancer fatigue. It is difficult to define or describe, but it is not like regular exhaustion. This morning, for example, I am just plain tired due to an unexpectedly long trip back from MN yesterday, a late night, and an early morning appointment. But I know I can just get through the day and a good night's sleep will solve the problem.
My most difficult cancer fatigue moments were way back in 1993 during concurrent radiation and chemotherapy. I remember numerous times when I thought something like: I have to lie down right this second, cannot stay upright for another moment. And sitting down or even a nap didn't help much. Many of you have endured much worse, and I suspect you found some strategies that helped.
This is an excellent article from Cancer Net with practical advice:
8 Ways to Cope With Cancer-Related Fatigue
You’re tired. You feel wiped out and can’t seem to find an ounce of
energy. This isn’t the “I need to get more sleep” feeling you sometimes
had before you were diagnosed with cancer. It’s a persistent and
distressing sense of physical or emotional exhaustion that doesn’t match
the amount of activity you’re doing.
It’s cancer-related fatigue.
Fatigue can be a common side effect of almost any type of cancer treatment, including chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and can occur weeks or months after treatment ends. Cancer itself can also cause fatigue. For many people, fatigue interferes with normal, everyday functioning and significantly impacts their quality of life.
But there are several strategies you can use to manage it.