Everyday, normal fatigue usually doesn’t last long and often gets better when you rest. Cancer related fatigue, however, is worse and last longer. It is unpredictable and sometimes overwhelming when it hits. Patients usually describe cancer fatigue as feeling drained or weak and not having the energy to do simple things like eat, walk to the bathroom, or even use the TV remote. Rest does not make it go away, and just a little activity can be exhausting for someone suffering from cancer related fatigue. For some, this kind of fatigue can cause more distress than pain, nausea, vomiting, or depression.
Symptoms can include:
- You feel tired and it doesn’t get better after rest, it keeps coming back, or it becomes severe.
- You’re more tired than usual during or after an activity.
- You’re feeling tired and it’s not related to an activity.
- You put less energy into your personal appearance.
- Your arms and legs feel heavy and hard to move.
- You have no energy and you feel week
- You stay in bed for more than 24 hours.
- You can’t concentrate or focus your thoughts.
- You have trouble remembering things.
- You feel sad, depressed, or irritable.
- You feel frustrated, irritable, and upset about the fatigue and its effects on your life
Don’t assume the fatigue you’re experiencing is just part of the cancer experience. If it’s frustrating you or affecting your ability to go about your day, it’s time to talk with your doctor or cancer care team. Managing fatigue is part of good cancer care and treating the causes of your cancer fatigue is important.
Cancer-related fatigue can:
- Differ from one day to the next
- Be overwhelming and make it hard for you to feel well
- Make it hard for you to do things you normally do
- Make it harder for you to follow your cancer treatment plan