Feeling fatigued after surgery for prostate cancer

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

What exactly is fatigue?

Everyone describes it a bit differently. Some tāne say they are, drained or weary all the time. Others say they're completely 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 whānau, 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 tāne 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

Take time to listen to your tinana 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.

It's important to step back a moment and identify the type of tiredness that you are experiencing. Cancer fatigue isn't ordinary tiredness. 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. People describe this type of fatigue as ‘whole-body tiredness’.

Fatigue and surgery
(radical prostatectomy)


, you might be exhausted and not in the mood to move around. And that’s completely understandable — your tinana has just been through a lot.

To help you heal faster, your care team will probably want you doing some light activity soon after surgery. Moving can give you an energy boost, keep your mind active and also help with constipation. Constipation (not being able to poo easily) is uncomfortable and can be stressful for your tinana. The fatigue can last a few weeks or even a bit longer.

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 improve your energy levels. 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, care team
or hauora provider about fatigue

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

What's next?

Now that you've read up on Feeling fatigued after surgery for prostate cancer, here are some related articles to explore as you continue to build your knowledge and understanding of this topic.
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