Cancer Fatigue (cont.)

What Other Factors Contribute to Fatigue?

Tumor cells compete for nutrients, often at the expense of the normal cells' growth. In addition to fatigue, weight loss and decreased appetite are common.

Decreased nutrition from the side effects of treatments (such as nausea, vomiting, mouth sores, taste changes, heartburn, or diarrhea) can cause fatigue.

Cancer treatments, specifically chemotherapy, can cause reduced blood counts, which may lead to anemia, a blood disorder that occurs when the blood cannot adequately transport oxygen through the body. When tissues don't get enough oxygen, fatigue can result.

Medicines used to treat side effects such as nausea, pain, depression, anxiety, and seizures can cause fatigue.

Research shows that chronic, severe pain increases fatigue.

Stress can worsen feelings of fatigue. Stress can result from dealing with the disease and the "unknowns," as well as from worrying about daily accomplishments or trying to meet the expectations of others.

Fatigue may occur when you try to maintain your normal daily routine and activities during treatments. Modifying your schedule and activities can help conserve energy.

Depression and fatigue often go hand-in-hand. It may not be clear which started first. One way to sort this out is to try to understand your depressed feelings and how they affect your life. If you are depressed all the time, were depressed before your cancer diagnosis, are preoccupied with feeling worthless and useless, you may need treatment for depression.

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