Fatigue is not the same as being tired. Fatigue is described as the whole body being tired which isn’t relieved by sleep. Cancer-related fatigue is one of the most common side effects of cancer and cancer treatments, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone and other biological treatments. It’s important to know that fatigue doesn’t just go away when treatments are over; fatigue can linger on long after cancer treatments are completed. There are several factors that affect fatigue. What’s more important to know is how to fight and minimize fatigue
Nutrition and a balanced diet can help boost energy levels. It’s important to eat the right amount of calories during active treatment; patients can meet with a dietitian for guidance on how many calories and the types of foods they should be eating. Moderate exercise can also boost energy levels. Overall stress management will help individuals fight fatigue. A recent study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology studied hypnosis and its associated effects on fatigue. In the study, women with breast cancer undergoing radiation therapy who participated in hypnosis and cognitive-behavioral therapy reported 79 percent less fatigue that those women not participating in hypnosis. Six months after treatment was complete, these same women reported 95 percent less fatigue.
The Agnesian Cancer Center offers many services to our cancer patients to help fight fatigue. All patients have the opportunity to meet with a clinical dietitian, an oncology nutrition specialist, as well as a cancer exercise specialist to help patients determine a dietary and exercise plan that is right for them.