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Dealing With Being Tired From Cancer Treatment: Care Instructions

Your Care Instructions

Cancer, some complications from cancer, and some cancer treatments can make you feel very tired. But there are things you can do to feel better.

Try to get extra rest while you have chemotherapy or radiation therapy. You may be able to stay with much of your routine, with some extra breaks for rest. It is important to stay as active as you can during treatment. Staying active can help you have more energy. Feeling tired is often worse at the end of these treatments or just after they end. Your doctor may prescribe medicines to help boost your energy.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Slowly increase your activity to have more energy. Try walking as your energy allows.
  • Take breaks during the day to rest.
  • If your doctor prescribes medicines to help with your energy, take them exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse advice line if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
  • Keep a list of all your medicines, and review them with your doctor at your visits.
  • Eat healthy foods. A diet that contains fruits, vegetables, and whole grains may increase your energy level. Limit alcohol, which can cause dehydration and make you feel more tired. Drink plenty of fluids. Do not skip meals, especially breakfast.
  • Do not smoke. It can make you feel more tired. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about stop-smoking programs and medicines. These can increase your chances of quitting for good.
  • If you have trouble getting a good night's sleep, try to:
    • Keep your room dark and quiet. If needed, wear earplugs or use a sound machine to cover noises.
    • Do not eat just before you go to bed.
    • Do not read or watch TV in bed.
  • Plan activities for the time of day when you have the most energy. This way you can plan ahead to do what you want to do.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if you have any problems.

Where can you learn more?

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.