Cancer related fatigue is a very common complaint that cancer patients experience during treatment. Some cancer survivors can experience fatigue that is prolonged which has a significant impact on their daily functioning, mood, and quality of life.
Most survivors find their fatigue is usually resolved by 6 months following treatment. Post Cancer Fatigue (PCF) is defined as a debilitating fatigue that persists for 6 months to years following cancer treatment. PCF presents differently to your usual sensations of fatigue or tiredness. A few common signs include:
• Whole body tiredness
• Lack of energy
• Inability to concentrate or irritability
• Boredom or lack of motivation
• Weakness following physical activity / exercise
• Increased need to rest that doesn’t reflect an increase in activity
• Fatigue not resolved by rest or sleep
As a consequence of cancer treatment, survivors are frequently reporting increased difficulties with performing their usual activities. A portion of this can be explained from decreases in physical function as a result of the treatment – including a loss of muscle mass, strength and a reduced aerobic capacity and endurance.
Many studies recommend Exercise-Based Therapy during and following cancer treatment. These studies have shown positive effects in reducing the side effects of treatment and combatting the decline in physical functioning.
They can also help identify patterns with your Post Cancer Fatigue and develop strategies around energy conservation and graded exercise therapy to better manage this debilitating side effect.