Monday, April 15, 2024

Fatigue After Chemo How Long Does Last

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Kidney And Bladder Effects

Chemotherapy Recovery – When Will I Feel Back To Normal? – Dr. Jay K. Harness

Certain chemotherapy medications, such as cisplatin, can cause damage to the kidneys and bladder. This can result in a decreased ability of your kidneys to filter your blood. Damage to the bladder can also occur and may be temporary or permanent. Symptoms of bladder irritation may include pain or urgency with urination, or blood in your urine.

What Can You Do To Lower Your Risk Of Long

Until we know more about long-term survivorship issues following chemotherapy for adults, there are a few things you can do:

  • Ask your oncologist about any late effects that you may expect from the particular chemotherapy drugs you were given. Are there any screening tests that she would recommend?
  • Keep a record of your chemotherapy regimen with you in case you see a healthcare provider who is unfamiliar with your medical history.
  • If you smoke, quit.
  • Make regular appointments with your dentist and eye doctor.
  • Engage in regular physical activity.
  • Limit your intake of alcohol.
  • Let your healthcare provider know if you experience any new symptoms or worsening of current symptoms you have.

For childhood, adolescent, and young adult cancer survivors, long-term follow-up guidelines have been developed to address not only the long-term side effects discussed but other survivorship issues.

It Is Not Clear How Cancer Treatments Cause Fatigue

It is unclear how cancer treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy cause fatigue.

When cancer treatment begins, many patients are already tired from medical tests, surgery, and the emotional stress of coping with the cancer diagnosis. Fatigue may get worse during treatment.

Different cancer treatments have different effects on a patient’s energy level. The type and schedule of treatments can affect the amount of fatigue caused by cancer treatment. Some patients have more fatigue after cancer treatments than others do.

Fatigue related to surgery

Fatigue is often a side effect of surgery, but patients usually feel better with time. However, fatigue related to surgery can be worse when the surgery is combined with other cancer treatments.

Fatigue caused by chemotherapy

Patients treated with chemotherapy usually feel the most fatigue in the days right after each treatment. Then the fatigue decreases until the next treatment. Some studies have shown that patients have the most severe fatigue about mid-way through all the cycles of chemotherapy. Fatigue decreases after chemotherapy is finished, but patients may not feel back to normal until a month or more after the last treatment.

Fatigue during chemotherapy may be increased by the following:

  • Pain.
  • Lack of sleep caused by some anticancer drugs.

Fatigue caused by radiation therapy

Fatigue caused by hormone therapy

Fatigue caused by immunotherapy

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Feeling Tired Because Of Sleeping Problems Anxiety Or Depression

Tiredness, depression, anxiety and problems sleeping often appear together in some people. Researchers think there is a link between cancer tiredness and depression. Sleeping problems, anxiety or depression may make your tiredness worse. But extreme tiredness can also cause emotional distress in some people.

A short course of sleeping tablets might help. It can help to get you back into your sleeping pattern. Your doctor might suggest anti depressants if depression is causing you sleeping problems. You need to take these for a few months to get the most out of them. Most anti depressants take a few weeks to start to work. Talk to your doctor or nurse if you feel depressed.

Sleeping problems, depression and tiredness can be difficult to cope with. But there are things you can do and people that can help.

What To Look For

Chemotherapy Side Effects: 18 Ways Chemo Affects You
  • You feel tired and it doesnt get better with rest or sleep, it keeps coming back, or it becomes severe.
  • Youre more tired than usual during or after an activity.
  • Youre feeling tired and its not related to an activity.
  • Youre too tired to do the things you normally do.
  • Your arms and legs feel heavy and hard to move.
  • You have no energy.
  • You spend more time in bed and/or sleep more. Or, you may have trouble sleeping.
  • You stay in bed for more than 24 hours.
  • You become confused or cant concentrate or focus your thoughts.
  • Your tiredness disrupts your work, social life, or daily routine.

It may be hard for you to talk about it, but tell your cancer care team about your fatigue. Tell them how its affecting your life. Someone on your team should be able to help you if they know youre having this problem. Managing fatigue is part of good cancer care. Work with your cancer care team to find and treat the causes of your fatigue.

Read Also: Can Low Blood Pressure Cause Fatigue

Can Sleep Be Improved To Reduce Cancer Fatigue

Sleep is an important part of wellness. Good sleep can improve your mental and physical health. Several factors contribute to how well you sleep, and there are things you can do to improve your sleep, including:

  • Doing relaxation exercises, meditation or relaxation yoga before going to sleep.
  • Avoiding long afternoon naps.
  • Going to bed only when sleepy. Use your bedroom only for sleep and sexual activities.
  • Setting a consistent time to lie down and get up.
  • Avoiding caffeine and stimulating activities in the evening.
  • Establishing a relaxing pre-sleep routine.

How Can I Combat Cancer Fatigue

The best way to combat fatigue is to treat the underlying cause. Unfortunately, the exact cause may be unknown, or there may be multiple causes. There are treatments to reduce certain causes of cancer fatigue, such as anemia or hypothyroidism. Other causes must be managed on an individual basis.

The following are tips you can use to combat cancer fatigue:

  • Conserve energy.
  • Manage your stress.

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Nausea Vomiting And Taste Changes

You may experience nausea and vomiting after your last chemotherapy treatment. It should go away in 2 to 3 weeks.

Your appetite may continue to be affected due to taste changes you may have experienced during your treatment. Your taste should go back to normal 1 to 2 months after chemotherapy. In the meantime, there are things you can do to help with these changes. Talk with your nurse if youd like more information.

Coping With Hair Loss

How to Manage Symptoms After Chemo – Brain Fog, Insomnia, Fatigue

Hair loss can be upsetting. Talk to your care team if you’re finding it difficult to cope with losing your hair.

They understand how distressing it can be and can support you and discuss your options with you.

For example, you may decide you want to wear a wig. Synthetic wigs are available free of charge on the NHS for some people, but you’ll usually have to pay for a wig made from real hair.

Other options include headwear, such as a headscarf.

Read more about advice about cancer and hair loss.

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Can A Dietitian Help Me Fight Cancer Fatigue

Dietitians can provide suggestions to work around any symptoms that may be interfering with caloric intake. They can help you find ways to take in calories despite an early feeling of fullness, swallowing difficulty or taste changes. Dietitians can also suggest ways of maximizing calories and proteins in smaller amounts of food. They may suggest powdered milk, instant breakfast drinks and other commercial supplements or food additives.

Answers From The Community

  • cam32505

    Both things are gradual. I was extremely tired after 7 months of surgery, chemo, and radiation. I went back to work and my energy gradually returned. After not eating for 7 months, it was hard to eat again. But, now I have no problem with that either. You may never be the way you were before cancer, but you will surely feel better than you do now.

  • Journey

    It takes awhile to have your energy return to normal. After my chemo ended, I had anemia and took Slow FE for about 1-1/2 years. It has been 3 years since I was dx and I still do not have a lot of energy, though more than I did during chemo. My appetite is much better now and I have even gained weight, from 82 to 100 pounds. I can now read cook books and I am even doing more cooking. I think my energy level will never get back to where it was before cancer. Life is different after cancer, but I sure am thankful I am alive!–Journey

  • Read Also: What Are The Symptoms Of Adrenal Fatigue

    How Can I Conserve Energy When I Have Cancer Fatigue

    Plan and organize your work

    • Change storage of items to reduce trips or reaching.
    • Delegate when needed.
    • Combine motions and activities and simplify details.

    Schedule rest

    • Balance periods of rest and work.
    • Rest before you feel tired.
    • Frequent, short rests are beneficial.

    Pace yourself

    • Do not hold your breath.
    • Wear comfortable clothes to allow for free and easy breathing.

    Identify anything in your environment that may contribute to cancer fatigue

    • Avoid extreme temperature.
    • Eliminate smoke or noxious fumes.
    • Avoid long, hot showers or baths.


    • Use your energy on important tasks.

    Sex And Fertility Issues

    Radiation Therapy: Does It Stay in Your Body After Treatment?

    Many people find that they lose interest in sex during chemotherapy. This is usually temporary, and your sex drive should gradually return after your treatment has finished.

    Some chemotherapy medicines can also reduce fertility in men and women. This is often temporary, but it can be permanent in some cases.

    Before starting treatment, ask your care team whether your fertility may be affected. If you’re at risk of infertility, they will discuss your options with you.

    Women may be able to have their eggs frozen to be used later in IVF. Men may be able to have a sample of their sperm frozen so it can be used for artificial insemination at a later date.

    You should avoid becoming pregnant or fathering a child during your treatment, as chemotherapy medicines could harm the baby. Use a barrier method of contraception, such as a condom.

    Also Check: How To Stop Fatigue From Depression

    How Long After Chemo Will I Feel Better

    How long after chemo will I feel better, is a commonly asked question by people undergoing chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is a well-established option for treating many types of cancers. As it is known that chemo has some side effects, which need to be dealt with carefully, it can create anxiety in many people. However, having a clear understanding of the time frame till, which chemo and its side effects can bother, surely helps.

    If Youre Getting Radiation Therapy To The Chest

    Radiation treatment to the chest may cause side effects such as:

    • Sore throat

    Radiation can also cause other problems in the heart or lungs.

    Heart complications

    Getting radiation to the middle portion of the chest can raise your risk of heart disease. This risk increases with higher radiation doses and larger treatment areas in this part of your body. Radiation can also cause hardening of the arteries , heart valve damage, or irregular heartbeats.

    Radiation pneumonitis

    Radiation pneumonitis is inflammation of the lungs that can be caused by radiation treatment to the chest . It may occur about 3 to 6 months after getting radiation therapy. Its more likely if you have other lung diseases, like emphysema . Common symptoms of radiation pneumonitis include:

    • Shortness of breath that usually gets worse with exercise
    • Chest pain, which is often worse when taking in a deep breath
    • Cough
    • Weakness

    Sometimes there are no symptoms, and radiation pneumonitis is found on a chest x-ray.

    Symptoms often go away on their own, but if treatment is needed, it is based on trying to decrease the inflammation. Steroids, like prednisone, are usually used. With treatment, most people recover without any lasting effects. But if it persists, it can lead to pulmonary fibrosis . When this happens, the lungs can no longer fully inflate and take in air.

    Be sure you understand what to look for, and tell your cancer care team if you notice any of these side effects.

    Read Also: How To Deal With Adrenal Fatigue Naturally

    Causes Of Cancer Fatigue

    • Fatigue in people with cancer may have more than one cause.
    • It is not clear how cancer treatments cause fatigue.
    • Fatigue related to surgery
    • Fatigue caused by radiation therapy
    • Fatigue caused by hormone therapy
    • Fatigue caused by immunotherapy
  • Anemia is a common cause of fatigue.
  • Nutrition needs change and cause or increase fatigue.
  • Anxiety and depression are the most common psychological causes of fatigue in people with cancer.
  • Fatigue and memory problems may be related.
  • Not sleeping well causes fatigue.
  • Medicines other than chemotherapy may add to fatigue.
  • Fatigue Is The Most Common Side Effect Of Cancer Treatment

    How Long Does Chemo Brain Last?

    Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, bone marrow transplantation, and immunotherapy can cause fatigue. Fatigue is also a common symptom of some types of cancer. People with cancer describe fatigue as feeling tired, weak,worn-out, heavy, slow, or that they have no energy or get-up-and-go. Fatigue in people with cancer may be called cancer fatigue, cancer-related fatigue, and cancer treatment-related fatigue.

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    What You Can Do About Cancer

    • be aware of your own warning signs of fatigue, for example, a loss of appetite, low mood, difficulty concentrating
    • help others to understand and let them support you
    • talk to family/whnau and friends, and dont be afraid to ask for help
    • pace yourself, think about your energy levels and balance activity and rest
    • if you need time to rest during the day, dont be afraid to say no to visitors
    • have lots of nutritious snacks and meals
    • regular moderate exercise can help with tiredness and a lack of energy

    Conserving Energy To Fight Fatigue

    There are several ways to combat fatigue by conserving your energy. Here are some suggestions:

    Plan ahead and organize your work

    • Change storage of items to reduce trips and make them easier to reach.
    • Prioritize activities and 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.

    Pace yourself

    • A moderate pace is better than rushing through activities.
    • Reduce sudden or prolonged strains.
    • Alternate sitting and standing.
    • Carry several small loads instead of one large one, or use a cart.

    Address Other Medical Problems

    Treating medical problems and symptoms that cause fatigue can also help. Examples include anemia, sleep problems, pain, depression, underactive thyroid, and dehydration.

    Also Check: How To Reduce Fatigue In Multiple Sclerosis

    If Youre Getting Radiation Therapy To The Brain

    People with brain tumors often get stereotactic radiosurgery if the cancer is in only one or a few sites in the brain. Side effects depend on where the radiation is aimed. Some side effects might show up quickly, but others might not show up until 1 to 2 years after treatment. Talk with your radiation oncologist about what to watch for and when to call your doctor.

    If the cancer is in many areas, sometimes the whole brain is treated with radiation. The side effects of whole brain radiation therapy may not be noticeable until a few weeks after treatment begins.

    Radiation to the brain can cause these short-term side effects:

    • Headaches
    • Trouble with memory and speech
    • Seizures

    Some of these side effects can happen because radiation has caused the brain to swell. Medicines are usually given to prevent brain swelling, but its important to let your cancer care team know about headaches or any other symptoms. Treatment can affect each person differently, and you may not have these particular side effects.

    Radiation to the brain can also have side effects that show up later usually from 6 months to many years after treatment ends. These delayed effects can include serious problems such as memory loss, stroke-like symptoms, and poor brain function. You may also have an increased risk of having another tumor in the area, although this is not common.

    Talk with your cancer care team about what to expect from your specific treatment plan.

    Fear Of Cancer Coming Back

    How long does chemo take to make you sick, ALQURUMRESORT.COM

    After treatment, many people might be afraid that their cancer will come back . You may become concerned about new symptoms youre having and wonder if theyre related to breast cancer.

    Its important to talk with your healthcare provider about any new symptoms you notice. Many of these issues are normal parts of healing and your body returning to a new normal after breast cancer treatment. Your healthcare team is always available to discuss your concerns or fears with you.

    You can call or send messages to your doctor or nurse through MyMSK . It may also be helpful to talk with a social worker, therapist, or chaplain. You can also join a support group. For more information, read MSK Support Services.

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    How Can We Help Relieve Or Prevent Fatigue

    Only two interventions have been proven truly effective in large clinical trials to relieve or prevent fatigue: correction of anemia and exercise. One reason it has been difficult to evaluate new therapies is due to a lack of understanding of the exact cause of CRF, as well as the lack of an animal model in which to do preliminary studies. You can’t exactly ask a mouse to rate his fatigue! In addition to anemia and exercise, we will discuss some other ways to manage fatigue that have been shown to be helpful.


    Anemia is defined as a hemoglobin level below 12 g/dl, and symptoms include shortness of breath or difficulty breathing with exertion and fatigue. Anemia in a cancer patient can have many causes including bleeding, bone marrow involvement of disease, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, organ dysfunction , or nutritional deficiencies. Anemia is believed to be one factor contributing to fatigue, and its correction has alleviated fatigue in clinical trials. One way to correct anemia is through the use of blood transfusions in some cases, this may be the best method, particularly if the patient is bleeding or having symptoms. Despite many safeguards, blood transfusions are not without risk and can lead to the transmission of viruses, allergic reactions, and lung injury.


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