While a patient is undergoing cancer treatment he/she is bound to undergo fatigue.
Sometimes fatigue results from cancer treatment and other times it is cancer itself that results into fatigue. Similarly sometimes fatigue is temporary and sometimes it sets permanently making everyday chores impossible.
The reasons for this fatigue during cancer treatment are far too many. I am listing some of them down with a possible strategy one can adopt to fight and overcome it. Before we move further we have to understand one thing that different people react to cancer differently. The factors for fatigue resulting from cancer may differ from person to person.
Cancer Itself: The biggest cause of fatigue is cancer itself. The emotional shock and disturbance is enough reason for a patient to undergo spells of fatigue that may last forever. Unless the patient makes an effort to help herself/himself by making an effort to overcome it and fact the treatment.
Cancer Treatment: Cancer Treatment can cause fatigue in many cases. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, biological therapy and bone marrow transplantation may all cause fatigue. This happens because, during the treatment when cancer cells are being destroyed, many non cancerous cells which help in important functions including building immune system also get destroyed and one feels tired and week very quickly. This also causes fatigue.
Anemia: Loss of RBC during therapies is also one of the main causes of fatigue during cancer treatment. Destruction of RBC breaks the immune system of the body. Patients also develop anemia because of cancer itself or if the cancer has spread to bone marrow and starts to interfere with blood cell production. Anemia can also result thyroid problems, which may not be necessarily related to cancer.
Pain: Unbearable pain during cancer before or after pain can result into loss of sleep, loss of appetite, poor nutrition and anxiety disorders.
All these are interlinked. One thing leads to the other. Let’s also add lack of physical activities or exercise as one of the indirect causes of fatigue. Medication is also one of the reasons that can cause fatigue.
Fatigue is actually a normal outcome to some extent while undergoing cancer treatment. But if this fatigue is setting in as a permanent fixture and doesn’t allow the patients do go about the daily chores on their own and is persistent, one is advised to visit the doctor. Inform doctor if the patient experiences dizziness, confusion, experiencing the sense of imbalance, not able to get out of bed for more than a day, hours and you notice that the condition and symptoms are getting from bad to worse.
The patient must be able o explain the fatigue caused by cancer treatment to the doctor as clearly as possible.
When did it start, what makes it worse, how long does it last, how often does it occur? What eases it?
And so forth. Depending upon how clearly the patient remembers symptoms and is able to explain it to the doctor will the doctor try to treat the cause. Besides this the doctor may also examine the patient physically.
Do not take fatigue casually. Especially if fatigue results from something like cancer treatment or cancer itself. One should seek doctor’s advice without wasting any time.