Cancer-Related Fatigue: Signs And Causes Which Are Not Normal

Often confused with tiredness, fatigue could be a sign of a serious health issue. Often a good night’s sleep solves your issue, and if you feel a lack of energy almost everyday, it can impact a person’s ability to function and quality of life altogether.

Fatigue Related To Cancer

Cancer-related fatigue, or CRF, is a common side effect of cancer and the treatments a patient receives. People often feel “paralyzed” by the treatment which is not a result of tiredness or excess physical activity. The chances are that it might not end until your treatment is not over.


Causes Of CRF

The exact reasons and causes of CRF that are unknown. It could be due to chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy. Here’s how they affect you:

1. Chemotherapy: Any drug prescribed for chemotherapy will result in fatigue, however the intensity might differ from people to people. In some people, it stays only for a couple of days, while in some it may stay for longer.

/> 2. Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy can cause fatigue over an increased time regardless of treatment site. CRF in radiation therapy can last from 3-4 weeks to 2-3 months.
3. Bone Marrow Transplant: This is an aggressive form of cancer treatment which can last upto one year.
4. Biologic Therapy: Cytokines which carry message that regulate your immune system in cellular level can be toxic in high amounts and can lead to persistent fatigue.


Other Factors Which May Add To CRF

1. Anemia

About 7 in 10 patients experience anemia during chemotherapy. The blood count is reduced which limits its oxygen-carrying ability (hemoglobin).

2. Combination Therapy

A combination of many therapies may make a patient experience fatigued more often.

3. Tumor Cells

Tumor cells compete with your body for nutrients at expense of normal cell growth and metabolism. Weight loss, decreased appetite, and fatigue are common results.

4. Nutrition

Decreased nutrition from the side-effects of treatments is also a reason why a cancer patient experiences fatigue.

5. Hypothyroidism

If your thyroid glands

are underactive, you will notice a slowdown in your metabolism and that your body is not digesting food fast enough.This is also related to CRF.

6. Medication

Medicines which treat your nausea, pain, depression, and anxiety may also lead to cancer-related fatigue.

7. Pain

Chronic and intense pain can make a person feel weak and tired.

8. Stress

If you’re dealing with stress at work or in your personal life, it’s going to make your CRF even worse.


Tips To Deal With CRF

When you’re battling with cancer, it’s not the sole issue that you need to pay attention to. Your body is still prone to many other health issues which can add to the damage of your cancer and CRF. Here are some tips to help you cope with cancer-related fatigue:

1. Conserve your energy. Make important and often needed things within your reach to reduce the number of trips and movement in a day.
2. Keep a diary where you keep a note of things which make

you feel most tired or energized.
3. Be alert to the warning signs of cancer-related fatigue. Tired and droopy eyes, tired legs, body pain and tiredness, shortness of breath, boredom or lack of motivation, anxiety, nervousness, or impatience are some of the common and easily noticeable signs.
4. Stay away from foods with food additives and preservatives.
5. Engage in light exercises to keep things moving in your body.
6. Identify the climatic and environmental changes on your health and if it makes you restless.

Things That Your Healthcare Provider May Recommend You For CRF

The first step to treatment is to identify if the problem exists. There are many people who overlook their tiredness and don’t mention it to their doctors. Fatigue, or any signs of change in health and body during cancer is not to be taken lightly. You need to mention all the signs and symptoms of fatigue to your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider might make changes in the medication, suggested diet, or physical activities to make you feel better with time.

We strongly suggest that you don’t keep

any information from your healthcare provider, no matter how small is the issue.