Skip to content

Breast Cancer Health Center

Select An Article

Cancer-Related Fatigue

Font Size

Conserve Your Energy continued...

Balance periods of rest and work. Use your energy only on important tasks. Schedule rest before you become fatigued -- frequent, short rests are helpful.

Alternate sitting and standing. When sitting, use a chair with good back support. Sit up with your back straight and your shoulders back.

Try to work without bending over; adjust the level of your work instead. When you have to lift something, bend your knees and use your leg muscles to lift, not your back. Don't bend forward at the waist with your knees straight.

Limit work that requires reaching over your head or that adds to muscle tension. Change where you store items to reduce trips or reaching. Use long-handled tools. Rather than moving a large load, break it into smaller ones, or use a cart.

Breathe evenly; don't hold your breath. Wear comfortable clothes to allow for free and easy breathing.

Avoid too hot or too cold temperatures. Don't take long, hot showers or baths.


Get Good Nutrition

Cancer-related fatigue can get worse if you are not eating enough or if you are not eating the right foods. Maintaining good nutrition can help you feel better and have more energy. Here are some ways to improve your nutrition:

Get enough calories. If you have cancer, you need about 15 calories per pound of weight if your weight has been stable. Add 500 calories per day if you have lost weight. For example, a person who weighs 150 pounds needs about 2,250 calories per day to maintain his or her weight.

Get plenty of protein. Protein rebuilds and repairs damaged cells. Adult women need about 46 grams per day, and adult men need 56 grams per day. Good sources of protein include dairy foods, meat, eggs, and beans.

Drink plenty of fluids. Fluids will prevent fatigue that comes from dehydration, plus help you get calories. Drink water, juice, milk, broth, milkshakes, and other beverages. Try to avoid drinks with caffeine. You'll need more fluids if you have vomiting or diarrhea.

Get enough vitamins. Take a vitamin supplement if you're not sure you are getting enough nutrients. A multivitamin provides many of the nutrients your body needs. But vitamin supplements don't have calories, so make sure you eat nutritious foods to get your calories.

See a dietitian. A registered dietitian can help you with any eating problems that may be interfering with proper nutrition (such as problems swallowing, changes in tastes, or feeling full quickly). A dietitian can also suggest ways to get more calories and protein in smaller amounts of food.

Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Breast Cancer Overview
From self-exams and biopsies to reconstruction, we’ve got you covered.
Dealing with breast cancer
Get answers to your questions.
woman having mammogram
Experts don’t agree on all fronts, but you can be your own advocate.
woman undergoing breast cancer test
Many women worry. But the truth? Most abnormalities aren’t breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Treatments Improving
Resolved To Quit Smoking
Woman getting mammogram
Screening Tests for Women
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
serious woman
what is your cancer risk
10 Ways to Revitalize Slideshow