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Fatigue - What a Patient Needs to Know
Ernest H Rosenbaum, MD; Barbara F. Piper, RN, OCN, DNSc.; Marilyn Dodd RN, PhD; Kathleen Dzubur, MS; Michael Glover, Pat Kramer, RN, MSN, AOCN; RoseAnn Kurshner, RN, BSN, MEd; Francine Manuel, RPT

Fatigue Facts
Fatigue Problems
What Causes Fatigue

Fatigue - What Physicians Need to Know
Fatigue Associated with Medical Therapy: Causes and Solutions
Tips For Reducing Fatigue

Fatigue Reduction Program for Improved Quality of Life
Fatigue Diagram

Fatigue is the most common symptom associated with cancer and cancer treatment. For many patients, fatigue can have a profound negative effect on quality of lives. It can impact one's sense of well being, ability to perform daily activities, relationships with family and friends, ability to cope with the illness as well as withstand the treatment. The cause of cancer related fatigue is not fully known or understood. A variety of factors are believed to contribute to fatigue. Problems like cancer, cancer treatment, low blood counts, sleep disruption, stress, poor nutrition, inactivity and medications may all contribute to fatigue.

Fatigue is a very subjective experience, which means that only the individual experiencing it really knows how it feels. There are no standard definitions for cancer-related fatigue, although it has been characterized as overwhelming, whole-body tiredness that is unrelated to activity or exertion. It is not easily relieved by sleep or rest. Patients experience a decrease in energy and an increased need for rest. Other words used to describe fatigue are: weary; worn out; listlessness; no pep; no energy; drained; a strong desire to stop and rest; a strong desire to lie down or sleep.

The fatigue experienced as a side effect of cancer or cancer treatment is different from the universal sensation of fatigue that everybody experiences. Fatigue can affect the way you think as well as how you feel. You may need more sleep. You may have trouble paying attention when reading, watching television, even talking with family members. You may find that you are not able to do all of the activities you did before your cancer treatment.

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