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Colorectal Cancer Health Center

Colorectal Cancer and Fatigue

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Are There Other Causes of Fatigue With Colorectal Cancer?

Yes. Other fatigue-causing factors of colorectal cancer and its treatment include:

 

  • Tumor cells competing for nutrients 
  • Nutritional deficiencies that result from the side effects of treatments, such as nausea, vomiting, mouth sores, taste changes, heartburn, or diarrhea
  • Anemia; reduced blood counts from chemotherapy may lead to anemia, a blood disorder in which tissues don't get enough oxygen.
  • Medicines used to treat side effects such as nausea, pain, depression, anxiety, and seizures
  • Chronic, severe pain
  • Stress from dealing with the disease and the "unknowns," as well as from worrying about daily accomplishments or trying to meet the expectations of others
  • Trying to maintain your normal daily routine and activities during treatments; modifying your schedule and activities can help conserve energy.
  • Depression

 

 

 

What Can I Do About Fatigue With Colorectal Cancer?

The best way to combat fatigue while also battling colorectal cancer is to treat the underlying medical cause. Unfortunately, the exact cause is often unknown, or there may be multiple causes.

There are some treatments that may help improve fatigue caused by an under-active thyroid or anemia. Other causes of fatigue must be managed on an individual basis. The following guidelines should help you combat fatigue.

Assess Your Fatigue

Keep a diary for one week to identify the time of day when you are either most fatigued or have the most energy. Note what you think may be contributing factors.

Be alert to your personal warning signs of fatigue. Fatigue warning signs may include tired eyes, tired legs, whole-body tiredness, stiff shoulders, decreased energy or a lack of energy, inability to concentrate, weakness or malaise, boredom or lack of motivation, sleepiness, increased irritability, nervousness, anxiety, or impatience.

Conserve Your Energy

There are several ways to conserve your energy. Here are some suggestions:

Plan ahead and organize your work

  • Store items to reduce trips or reaching.
  • Delegate tasks when needed.
  • Combine activities and simplify details.

Schedule rest

  • Balance periods of rest and work.
  • Rest before you become fatigued -- frequent, short rests are beneficial.
  • Delegate tasks so you can rest.

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