Fatigue is a common side effect of radiation therapy; some people are very tired, and others less so. What fatigue does not mean, though, is that your treatment is not working or that your cancer is getting worse.
Here are some tips to help you combat fatigue and have more energy:
- Stay active if you are able to. It's hard to believe, but most people feel better if they are able to exercise every day. After checking with your doctor, try:
- Walking for 15-30 minutes each day
- Riding your bike
- Playing a sport that you enjoy
- Maintain your usual lifestyle as much as possible but pace yourself:
- Do the things that are most important to you first
- Ask for help, and don't be afraid to let some things go. Family and friends can help you with cooking, cleaning and other chores.
- Plan for rest periods during the day, especially after your treatment. Sleeping later in the morning and going to bed earlier are also helpful.
- If you work, and wish to continue, try to do so. Ask the therapist if your treatment schedule can be coordinated with your work schedule.
- Check with your workplace, you may be able to do some of your job from home
- Ask about medical leave if you need to
- Keep up a healthy diet
- Drink at least 64 oz of fluid each day. This helps to flush away dead cancer cells and other waste products
- Eat as well as possible. Try eating 4-6 smaller meals if it's too hard to eat 3 large meals. Eat foods that are high in calories and protein.
- Talk to your doctor if you are still tired after trying these tips.