When our calendars are bursting at the seams with work, household responsibilities and activities, feeling tired from time to time is almost expected. Cancer-related fatigue is very different and goes beyond feeling tired. In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, the well-documented phenomenon is the most common side effect of cancer treatment.
The exact cause of cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is unknown but may be related to the disease process or its treatment. CRF is described as being unpredictable and cannot be resolved simply by getting more rest. Signs include:
- Extreme tiredness that lasts an extraordinary amount of time
- Limbs that feel heavy
- Difficulty concentrating
- Avoidance of normal daily activities
CRF can be either acute or chronic and can have a profound negative impact on quality of life.
Imagine your energy is stored in a personal “bank” and that deposits and withdrawals are made frequently, over the course of a day or week. To manage your bank:
- Fuel your body with proper nutrition, rest and exercise
- Include periodic rest in your daily routine
- Prioritize and plan activities that allow you to conserve energy and help you to think ahead in terms of building a reservoir of energy
- Request help from medical professionals related to symptom management
- Seek support from professionals and/or support groups
Be mindful of signs that cancer fatigue is impending and talk to your doctor or therapist about your concerns. Left untreated, CRF can be detrimental to quality of life and affect self-care, recreation and relationships.
To learn more about oncology rehabilitation, call 1-888-44-REHAB (73422) or click here to contact us.