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Prostate Cancer: Dealing with Fatigue

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What Can I Do to Combat Fatigue? continued...

Energy conservation. You can conserve your energy in several ways. Here are some suggestions:

  • Plan ahead and organize your work.

    Change storage of 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 more beneficial than one long nap.
  • Pace yourself.

    A moderate pace is better than rushing through activities.
    Reduce sudden or prolonged straining.
    Alternate sitting and standing.
  • Practice proper body mechanics.

    When sitting, use a chair with good back support. Sit up with your back straight and your shoulders back.
    Adjust the level of your work, Work without bending over.
    When bending to lift something, bend your knees and use your leg muscles to lift, not your back. Do not bend forward at the waist with your knees straight.
    Carry several small loads instead of one large one, or use a cart.
  • Limit work that requires reaching over your head.

    Use long-handled tools.
    Store items lower.
    Delegate activities whenever possible.
  • Limit work that increases muscle tension.

    Breathe evenly; do not hold your breath.
    Wear comfortable clothes to allow for free and easy breathing.
  • Identify the effects of your environment.

    Avoid temperature extremes.
    Eliminate smoke or harmful fumes.
    Avoid long, hot showers or baths.
  • Prioritize your activities.

    Decide what activities are important to you, and what could be delegated.
    Use your energy on important tasks.

Other ways to combat fatigue include:

  • Maintaining good nutrition; extra B vitamins seem to help lessen fatigue during radiation treatments.
  • Getting moderate exercise on a regular basis
  • Learning to manage stress

When Should I Call My Doctor?

Although cancer-related fatigue is a common, and often an expected side effect of cancer and its treatments, you should feel free to mention your concerns to your health care providers. Fatigue may be a clue to an underlying medical problem. Other times, there may be treatments to help control some of the causes of fatigue.

Finally, there may be suggestions that are more specific to your situation that would help in combating your fatigue. Be sure to let your doctor or nurse know if you have:

  • Increased shortness of breath with minimal exertion
  • Uncontrolled pain
  • Inability to control side effects from treatments (such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or loss of appetite)
  • Uncontrollable anxiety or nervousness
  • Ongoing depression

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by William Blahd, MD on September 10, 2015
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