This article is from Louise Malone, consultant physiotherapist, setting out why you might be feeling more tired than usual and providing some tips to help with what is commonly termed, “treatment related fatigue”.
Fatigue or feeling tired during or after cancer treatment is normal (more than 90% of patients report it). Thankfully, there are things that can be done to help! Let’s look at what it is, what causes it and what we can do to overcome it.
Treatment related fatigue (TRF) is more debilitating than normal fatigue. With this type of fatigue, sleep is no longer restorative. We wake feeling exhausted in your body and mind. It can be destructive to our life, affecting us physically and mentally including our work and relationships. Treatment related fatigue is complex and can have many causes. Commonly there is a relationship between fatigue, treatment, lack of sleep and lack of exercise.
During cancer treatment, the medication can affect the good cells (as well as the bad ones). This can cause muscle loss leaving us feeling weak. Sleep can be difficult from stress and anxiety with our diagnosis and treatment especially after procedures such as surgery (due to discomfort and/or pain). In addition, we may not be doing our regular exercise regime or normal activities at this time: such as gardening, the school run or work, reducing our general fitness levels.
Here are some tips to help us avoid and overcome treatment related fatigue:
If you need support with treatment related fatigue, do not hesitate to reach out to a healthcare professional with appropriate experience, such as an oncology physiotherapist, nurse or your doctors.
Future Dreams run fatigue management workshops with Louise. You can book a place via our booking site.
Louise is a Consultant Physiotherapist and Expert Practitioner in Oncology Care. She has over fifteen years of oncology experience working in leading NHS and Private London cancer hospitals including University College Hospital in London, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and The Royal Trinity Hospice. In the private setting she was Lead Oncology Physiotherapist for HCA International at The LOC (Leaders in Oncology Care) on Harley Street in London. She is passionate about delivering exceptional care and doing the best for her patients.
The information and content provided in all guest articles is intended for information and educational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice. It is important that all personalised care decisions should be made by your medical team. Please contact your medical team for advice on anything covered in this article and/or in relation to your personal situation. Please note that unless otherwise stated, Future Dreams has no affiliation to the guest author of this article and he/she/they have not been paid to write this article. There may be alternative options/products/information available which we encourage you to research when making decisions about treatment and support. The content of this article was created by Louise Malone and we accept no responsibility for the accuracy or otherwise of the contents of this article.
Sylvie and Danielle began Future Dreams with just £100 in 2008. They believed nobody should face breast cancer alone. Their legacy lives on in Future Dreams House. We couldn’t continue to fund support services for those touched by breast cancer, raise awareness of breast cancer and promote early diagnosis and advance research into secondary breast cancer without your help. Please consider partnering with us or making a donation.