Fatigue And Cancer Treatment
Managing fatigue is an important part of your cancer treatment plan. Taking short walks and getting light exercise can actually increase most peoples energy level.
Fatigue is a common side effect of many cancer treatments, including chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy, bone marrow transplant, and surgery. Conditions such as anemia, as well as pain, medications, and emotions, can also cause or worsen fatigue.
People often describe cancer-related fatigue as feeling extremely tired, weak, heavy, run down, and having no energy. Resting does not always help with cancer-related fatigue. Cancer-related fatigue is one of the most difficult side effects for many people to cope with.
Tell your health care team if you feel extremely tired and are not able to do your normal activities or are very tired even after resting or sleeping. There are many causes of fatigue. Keeping track of your levels of energy throughout the day will help your doctor to assess your fatigue. Write down how fatigue affects your daily activities and what makes the fatigue better or worse.
Talking With Your Health Care Team About Fatigue
Prepare for your visit by making a list of questions to ask. Consider adding these questions to your list:
- What is most likely causing my fatigue?
- What should I keep track of and share so we can develop a plan to help me feel better?
- What types of exercise do you recommend for me?
- How much rest should I have during the day? How much sleep should I get at night?
- What food and drinks are best for me?
- Are there treatments or medicines that could help me feel better?
Why Noticing Cancer Symptoms Is Important
Identifying symptoms can help you and your doctor detect your cancer earlier. This is important because the sooner cancer is found, the better your prognosis.
While symptoms are most likely caused by something other than cancer, you shouldnt dismiss them. This is especially true if the problem has lasted a long time or has gotten worse.
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Anxiety And Depression Are The Most Common Psychological Causes Of Fatigue In People With Cancer
The emotional stress of cancer can cause physical problems, including fatigue. It’s common for you to have changes in moods and attitudes. You may feel anxiety and fear before and after a cancer diagnosis. These feelings may cause fatigue. The effect of the disease on your physical, mental, social, and financial well-being can increase emotional distress.
About 15% to 25% ofpeople with cancer get depressed, which may increase fatigue caused by physical factors. Patients who have depression before starting treatment are more likely to have depression during and after treatment. The following are signs of depression:
- Lack of energy and mental alertness.
- Loss of interest in life.
- Problems thinking.
- Feeling a loss of hope.
Patients who have a history of stressful experiences in childhood, such as abuse and neglect, may have increased fatigue. See the PDQ summaries on Adjustment to Cancer: Anxiety and Distress and Depression for more information.
Mammography Can Rupture Tumors And Spread Malignant Cells
Mammography involves compressing the breasts between two plates in order to spread out the breast tissue for imaging. Todays mammogram equipment applies 42 pounds of pressure to the breasts. Not surprisingly, this can cause significant pain. However, there is also a serious health risk associated with the compression applied to the breasts. Only 22 pounds of pressure is needed to rupture the encapsulation of a cancerous tumor . The amount of pressure involved in a mammography procedure therefore has the potential to rupture existing tumors and spread malignant cells into the bloodstream .
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Cancer Signals In Both Men And Women
Appetite loss. Many conditions, from depression to the flu, can make you feel less hungry. Cancer can have this effect by changing your metabolism, the way your body turns food into energy.
Stomach, pancreatic, colon, and ovarian cancers also can put pressure on your stomach and make you feel too full to eat.
Blood in the stool. Cancers can bleed, but so can a bunch of other things, like ulcers, hemorrhoids, infections, or a sore. When you see red in your poop, the blood is often from somewhere in your GI tract, meaning your esophagus, stomach, or intestines.
One way to tell where the blood is coming from is by how light or dark it looks. Bright red could mean the bleeding is in your rectum or the end of your intestines. A darker color means it may be from higher up, like a stomach ulcer.
No matter what the cause, blood in your stool needs to be checked out. You may need a colonoscopy or other tests to find the problem.
Blood in the urine. When it shows up in your pee, blood could be a warning sign of a problem in your urinary tract. Kidney or bladder cancer can cause this symptom, but it could also be due to an infection, kidney stones, or kidney disease.
Cough that doesn’t go away. A cold or the flu can make you hack away, but it’s also a potential symptom of lung cancer, along with red flags like chest pain, weight loss, hoarseness, fatigue, and shortness of breath. See your doctor if you can’t seem to shake it, especially if you’re a smoker.
When To Call Your Doctor
Although cancer-related fatigue is a common side effect of cancer and its treatments, you should mention any of your concerns to your doctor. There are times when fatigue may be a clue to an underlying medical problem. Other times, there may be things your doctor can do to help control fatigue.
Be sure to let your doctor or nurse know if you have:
- Shortness of breath
- Side effects from treatments
- Anxiety or nervousness
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How To Find Help For Cancer Fatigue
It can be hard to pinpoint the cause of cancer-related fatigue, especially if a combination of factors is working together to cause it. There may not be one simple answer. Keep looking for help, even if initial tests for obvious sources of fatigue are negative.
Keep in mind that conventional oncologists arent usually trained on all the research thats been done on how to manage side effects and help improve quality of life. Their focus is on drugs used to treat cancer. But don’t assume your oncologist is the only one capable of managing your side effects, nor the only one who should be following your progress.
Physicians who work in integrative medicine, functional medicine and naturopathy may be more experienced with how to manage those symptoms using relatively non-toxic approaches. These providers may be more likely to know about and use strategies that show the potential to improve patients quality of life without causing harmful side effects. However, be cautious with any provider who claims their treatments will cure cancer in lieu of conventional therapy.
If youre not getting the help youre looking for, consider seeking a second opinion at an oncology center like CTCA. Cancer centers are more likely to offer resources to explore the multifactorial processes that could be affecting fatigue.
Not Sleeping Well Causes Fatigue
Some people with cancer are not able to get enough sleep. The following problems related to sleep may cause fatigue:
- Waking up during the night.
- Going to sleep at different times every night.
- Sleeping duringthe day and less at night.
- Being inactive during the day.
- The time of day that cancer treatment is given.
Poor sleep affects people in different ways. For example, the time of day that fatigue is worse may be different. Some people with cancer who have trouble sleeping may feel more fatigue in the morning. Others may have severe fatigue in both the morning and the evening. People with cancer who are inactive during the day, have restless sleep, or who have obesity may have higher levels of fatigue.
Even in people with cancer who have poor sleep, fixing sleep problems does not always improve fatigue. A lack of sleep may not be the cause of the fatigue. See the PDQ summary on Sleep Disorders for more information.
But Newer Implants Are Safe Right
If you look at research or ask a surgeon, I think most will tell you implants are not made like they used to be, and after years of debating safety they are safe now. You will likely hear that newer implants are not likely to leak or cause illness and they dont have the risk implants once carried. Most surgeons will tell you the simplicity of recovery and give you the general basic risks of any surgery. After all, implants are FDA approved, right?
The FDA has a list of risks and complications of breast implants, but even the FDA notes possible complications, among them being Symptoms such as fatigue, memory loss, rash, brain fog, and joint pain have been reported by some patients with breast implants. Some patients may use the term breast implant illness to describe these symptoms. US FDA
I think most surgeons will not tell you that implant shells are made with silicone, which is an endocrine disruptor. Or that they can slowly release heavy metals, silicone and other chemicals into the body. Over time, the immune system is weakened and that makes the other body systems at risk for being compromised. This eventually makes the body go a little crazy and things slowly start going wrong.
Signs And Symptoms Of Cancer
Signs and symptoms are ways the body lets you know that you have an injury, illness, or disease.
- A sign, such as fever or bleeding, can be seen or measured by someone else.
- A symptom, such as pain or fatigue, is felt or noticed by the person who has it.
Signs and symptoms of cancer depend on where the cancer is, how big it is, and how much it affects nearby organs or tissues. If a cancer has spread , signs or symptoms may appear in different parts of the body.
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Fatigue Prior To Treatment
Several studies have now shown that women with breast cancer complain of fatigue even before the start of treatment., Ancoli-Israel et al. found that women diagnosed with breast cancer had increased fatigue, disturbed sleep, and increased daily dysfunction before the start of chemotherapy, and that those patients with fatigue, poor sleep, and depression pre-chemotherapy experienced more fatigue and poor quality of life during chemotherapy than women with fewer pre-treatment symptoms. These data suggest that fatigue is not just a result of radiation or chemotherapy, but rather is multifactorial.
Symptoms Of Angiosarcoma Of The Breast
Another rare form of breast cancer, angiosarcoma forms inside the lymph and blood vessels. Only a biopsy may definitively diagnose this type of cancer. Angiosarcoma can cause changes to the skin of your breast, such as the development of purple-colored nodules that resemble a bruise. These nodules, if bumped or scratched, may bleed. Over time, these discolored areas may expand, making your skin appear swollen in that area. You may or may not have breast lumps with angiosarcoma. If you also have lymphedema, which is swelling caused by a buildup of lymphatic fluid, angiosarcoma may occur in the affected arm. Cancer treatment sometimes damages the lymph vessels, which may lead to lymphedema.
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When To See Your Doctor
Its important to talk to your physician if you have breast pain from any cause. Even if its not due to cancer, many women find that breast pain decreases their quality of life. In one study,15% of the women experienced breast pain at some time in their life that interfered with work and family activities. So, make sure to talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any suspicious discomfort.
Cancer Symptoms In Men
Blood in urine or semen. A pink, brown, or red tinge to your pee or semen is usually nothing to panic over. Infections, kidney stones, injuries, and noncancerous prostate growth can all cause bleeding.
Less often, bladder or prostate cancer might be to blame. Your doctor can do urine tests and other exams to find the source of the blood.
Lump in the testicle. A painless one is a possible warning sign of testicular cancer. Yet the bump could also be from an injury, fluid buildup, or a hernia. It’s hard to tell the cause from your symptoms alone, so go to your doctor for an exam.
Pain during ejaculation or urination. If it hurts when you pee or have an orgasm, you may have an infection or swelling of your prostate gland or urethra. There’s a chance that these symptoms might be because of prostate cancer. If the pain doesn’t improve, have your doctor take a look.
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Breast Cancer Fatigue Before Diagnosis
How do I tell when I have breast cancer? This has been the question most people ask but they dont have the most appropriate answer. Breast cancer eats slowly into the body which can make it difficult to be identified in the early stages. Breast cancer fatigue before diagnosis is common among the cancer patients and it must be monitored and managed properly.
This can be characterized by low energy in the body and weakness which are rarely experienced by healthy people. Such condition may be treated lightly before cancer diagnosis and can easily be assumed to be the normal sleep. The fatigue may be experienced as a result of breast cancer without the knowledge of an individual or may be caused by the treatment process.
You dont have to wait for the breast cancer condition to get worse to take the necessary steps for diagnosis and treatment. Today therere better ways for cancer diagnosis which are effective and cost effective in terms of budget. You can totally depend on the related symptoms and fatigue to tell o the cancer condition but a lot more needs to be done.
Across the world, different people have reported extreme fatigue which later turned up to be caused by the breast cancer. You should work closely with your doctor for the right diagnose when you feel extreme levels of fatigue.Impact of the breast cancer fatigue.
Cancer Fatigue Is Different From Fatigue That Healthy People Feel
When a healthy person is tired from day-to-day activities, their fatigue can be relieved with sleep and rest. Cancer fatigue is different. People with cancer get tired after less activity than people who do not have cancer. Also, cancer fatigue is not completely relieved by sleep and rest, interferes with daily activities, and may last for a long time. Fatigue usually decreases after cancer treatment ends, but some people may still feel fatigue for months or years.
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What Causes Fatigue And Weakness
In people with cancer, weakness might be caused by having and recovering from surgery, low blood counts or low electrolyte levels, infection, or changes in hormone levels.
However, the causes of cancer-related fatigue are often harder to determine because there are often many factors involved. It might be from the cancer itself and/or a side effect of the cancer treatment. How cancer and treatment might cause fatigue is not well understood, but some possible reasons are:
- Cancer and cancer treatment can change normal protein and hormone levels that are linked to inflammatory processes which can cause or worsen fatigue.
- Treatments kill normal cells and cancer cells, which leads to a build-up of cell waste. Your body uses extra energy to clean up and repair damaged tissue.
- Cancer forms toxic substances in the body that change the way normal cells work.
Besides direct effects of cancer and its treatment, people with cancer often also experience other things that can add together to increase fatigue. These are things like surgery, stress and worry, changes in activity level, and changes in blood counts, electrolytes, and hormone levels.
Are You Having Breast Cancer Pain
How often does breast cancer cause breast pain? If you have breast pain, what are the chances its cancer? What types of breast cancers are more likely to be painful? Since breast pain affects roughly half of all women at some point in our lives, these are important questions to be asking.
Learn about about how often breast cancer is painful , and whether pain may increase your risk of breast cancer in the future.
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How Long Do Side Effects Last
Remember that the type of radiation side effects you might have depends on the prescribed dose and schedule. Most side effects go away within a few months of ending treatment. Some side effects may continue after treatment ends because it takes time for the healthy cells to recover from radiation.
Side effects might limit your ability to do some things. What you can do will depend on how you feel. Some patients are able to go to work or enjoy leisure activities while they get radiation therapy. Others find they need more rest than usual and cant do as much. If you have side effects that are bothersome and affecting your daily activities or health, the doctor may stop your treatments for a while, change the schedule, or change the type of treatment youre getting. Tell your cancer care team about any side affects you notice so they can help you with them.