We all know what it’s like to feel tired – physically, mentally and emotionally, but usually after some relaxation and a good night’s sleep, we are ready to take on the world again. When you have cancer, though, rest often just doesn’t touch it.
Cancer-related fatigue is one of the most common side effects of cancer and its treatment. It is not predictable by tumour type, treatment, or stage of illness. It can come on suddenly, does not result from activity or exertion, is not relieved by rest or sleep, and can continue long after treatment is complete. For many, fatigue interferes with normal, everyday functioning and significantly impacts their quality of life.
The key thing to know is that you’re not alone in this, though. There is plenty of information, advice and cancer support services available to help you find ways to make everyday life a little more manageable. Here are just a few ideas to help you make a start.
The cancer-specific websites such as Prostate Cancer UK or Anthony Nolan feature help and advice on the subject of understanding and managing fatigue. And of course a simple google search on ”cancer related fatigue” returns plenty of information, in various formats, including these leaflets, videos and audio books from Macmillan.
And if you like an app, then there some out there to help you keep track of your energy levels each day and suggest some tips and tricks along the way. Have a look at Untire, for instance, which offers an online peer support community.
Also, when you’re ready to get out and about, be sure to check out Cancer Care Map to see what’s available in your local area – many of the cancer centres (for example, Maggie’s Centres across the country or local services like Big C in Norfolk) offer workshops, light exercise, and relaxation therapies that will help ease your symptoms. (Covid restrictions permitting!)
We hope this helps. Don’t forget, we love to hear from you too. Do get in touch and share your experiences and let us know about the great cancer care providers and support services you recommend.