Our website uses cookies to bring you an easy and personalised browsing experience. By continuing, you consent to our cookie policy on this device. For more info, please see our Privacy Statement

Feeling fatigued on radiation therapy (radiotherapy)

Have you been feeling downright exhausted, tired and spent? Mentally and physically? That’s probably fatigue talking.

What exactly
is fatigue?

Everyone describes it a bit differently. Some men say they are dog-tired, drained or weary all the time. Others say that are completely knackered and exhausted most of the day.

The key difference is that fatigue goes beyond occasional tiredness. It’s like your energy has been completely zapped — making it harder to sleep, work, hang out with friends and family, and get on with everyday life. It's not usually the kind of sleepiness that you can push through by getting a good night of sleep, or with a cup of coffee. This feeling of being drained can linger for a long time, sometimes even months or years. Simply just being tired, on the other hand, usually goes away after resting up a bit.

People describe this type of fatigue as ‘whole-body tiredness’.

How common is it?

Almost everyone diagnosed with cancer experiences fatigue, as cancer itself is a lot on the body. Fatigue is so common, that about 3 in 4 men with prostate cancer go through it. 

What causes it?

It’s tricky, because a number of things can bring on fatigue. With prostate cancer, it’s common to feel quite worn down due to:

  • not having enough sleep or rest

  • eating poorly and not getting the right amount of exercise

  • stress, anxiety or depression

  • aches and pains from treatment

  • your type of radiation therapy (radiotherapy)

Take time to listen to your body and better understand where your exhaustion may be coming from. Work with your care team to understand what you can expect, and how to best manage your energy supply going forward.

Fatigue and
radiation therapy (radiotherapy)

Both types of radiation therapy (external beam radiation and brachytherapy) can cause fatigue. Those tired and drained feelings can start while you’re getting therapy, but sometimes they don't happen until afterwards. Some men find it lasts for weeks, but it can go on for months.

What can you do to
pump up your energy?

Eating well before, during and after treatment is key. Keeping active with an exercise program could also help your energy levels improve more quickly. To help you get going, talk to your team about having a nutrition and workout plan created that will work just for you.

Talk to your doctor
or care team

If you’ve been feeling excessively tired, whether physically or emotionally, let your doctor or care team know. They can guide you towards getting proper rest, nutrition and exercise, and any other help you may need. 

What's next?

Now that you've read up on Feeling fatigued on radiation therapy (radiotherapy) , here are some related articles to explore as you continue to build your knowledge and understanding of this topic.
Movember True North Home
Stay Informed

As we launch new features and updates, we'd like to share the news with you first.

Select location
We're currently available in 5 countries.
© 2021 Movember Foundation. All rights reserved.
Movember Foundation is a registered charity in Australia ABN 48894537905.
Movember True North HomeMovember Funded Project homepage opens in a new window
The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride homepage opens in a new window
True North acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land and waters of Australia, and pay respect to all Elders - past, present and emerging.