Side Effects

7 Ideas for Managing Symptoms of Fatigue


Fatigue may come with cancer or be caused by your treatments for cancer. Fatigue is more than being physically tired. It can make it hard to think. You may be emotionally exhausted. Sometimes it’s described as being drained or washed out. For some people with cancer, fatigue can be worse than pain, nausea, vomiting, or feeling depressed.

Fatigue in cancer patients may be caused by:

  • Cancer treatments, including:
    • Chemotherapy
    • Radiation therapy
    • Treatments that affect the immune system
  • Cancer itself or its treatments, by
    • Affecting hormone levels (too much or too little)
    • Decreasing the desire to eat – causing anemia
  • Other medical conditions

When you are fatigued, you may feel:

  • A lack of energy
  • More confused than normal
  • Sleepy
  • Tired after sleeping
  • Too tired to do normal activities
  • Too tired to take care of yourself

Talk with your healthcare team. It’s important that you talk with your doctor or nurse about how tired you feel and how that affects you every day. Your doctor or nurse may be able to help you manage the fatigue and to help you feel less tired.

You may want to talk to your healthcare team about:

  • Asking your family and friends for help with activities that are hard for you
  • Saving energy to focus on your most important daily activities
  • Performing exercises that can help you raise your energy level
  • Whether physical therapy may help your fatigue
  • Finding a dietitian who can help you choose what food to eat
  • Trying to eat a well-balanced diet
  • Staying hydrated—be sure to drink water throughout the entire day