Fighting Cancer Fatigue

Last Editorial Review: 1/31/2005

5 Strategies for More Energy

By Jeanie Lerche Davis
WebMD Feature

Reviewed By Charlotte Grayson

Fatigue is the most common side effect of cancer treatment. But proper nutrition, vitamin and mineral supplements, medications, lifestyle changes, and emotional support can help give you the energy you need to enjoy your life.

Here are some tips to help you enjoy each day, even during treatment!

1. Plan Your Day

  • Keep track of the times of day when you have the most and least energy.
  • Plan your activities, rest periods, and household tasks according to your energy level.
  • Don't push yourself. Get plenty of rest to balance your activities.
  • Ask family members to help you with chores and errands.
2. Talk to Your Doctor 3. Conserve Your Energy
  • Place chairs at various points around your home, so you can sit for a quick rest during the day.
  • Do your housework sitting down. Use long-handled dust mops. Sit down while you iron.
  • Do as much personal care as you can while sitting down. Sit down while you bathe and dry off.
  • Stop any activity before you become overly tired.
4. Eat for Energy
  • Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein to fuel your body.
  • Talk to your doctor about vitamins and nutritional supplements that might help.
  • Use healthful, easy-to-prepare foods whenever possible.
  • Shop for groceries when the supermarket is less busy.
  • Prepare meals sitting down.
  • Prepare double portions and freeze half.
5. Nurture Your Emotions
  • Find a park or garden where you can restore mental energy.
  • Get regular exercise. Walk at a pace that doesn't make you overly tired.
  • Talk with a trusted friend, family member, or clergy about what you're going through.
  • Find a cancer support group. Talking with others facing similar problems can be very rewarding.
  • Read spiritually uplifting books.


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