Having a serious illness almost always takes some kind of toll on your sex life. But breast cancer can bring all thoughts of intimacy and sexuality to a screeching halt.
Treatments can bring on temporary -- and sometimes permanent -- premature menopause, making intercourse painful. Chemotherapy and radiation often lead to crushing fatigue. You may want to stay in bed, but you don’t want to use it for anything but sleep. The medications you take, as well as the emotional effects of the disease, can...
Fatigue is a daily lack of energy or whole-body tiredness that doesn’t go away, even with good sleep. It can keep you from doing normal, daily things, and it affects your quality of life. Sometimes it's "acute," meaning it lasts a month or less. In other cases it's "chronic" and lasts up to 6 months or longer. Usually, it comes on suddenly, and may continue after you're done with your treatment.
Here are some possible reasons for it, along with tips to help you get some of your energy back.
Causes of Cancer-Related Fatigue
The disease itself can be the problem. Tumor cells steal calories and nutrients from normal cells, and that leads to tiredness that won't seem to let up.
Treatments can cause fatigue, too:
Chemotherapy. Any chemo drug can cause you to have fatigue. It lasts for a few days in some people, while others say they have it throughout treatment or even afterward.
Radiationcan give you fatigue that tends to get worse over time. It usually lasts 3 to 4 weeks after your treatment stops, but it can continue for up to 3 months.
Hormone therapy deprives the body of estrogen, and that can lead to fatigue that may last throughout your treatment or longer.
Bone marrow transplant. This aggressive form of treatment can give you a daily lack of energy that lasts up to 1 year.
Targeted therapy. High amounts of these medications can lead to long-lasting fatigue.
Combination therapy. Getting more than one cancer treatment at the same time or one after the other also increases your chances of feeling listless.
Surgery. Everyone recovers from surgery at different rates. This can also cause some daily exhaustion.
Other Possible Culprits
Cancer treatments can cause anemia, a blood disorder where your body's cells don’t get the oxygen they need.