Feeling fatigued during chemotherapy for prostate cancer

Has chemotherapy got you feeling exhausted, tired and spent? Mentally and physically? That’s probably fatigue talking. It’s a common experience when undergoing treatment for prostate cancer.

What exactly
is fatigue?

Everyone’s experience with fatigue can be different. Some men describe constantly feeling dog-tired or wiped out. Others report being completely knackered most of the day.

The key difference between everyday fatigue and the kind you may experience when going through prostate cancer is that we’re talking about way more than occasional tiredness. It’s like your energy has been completely zapped—making it harder to work, hang out with friends, or even sleep.

This isn’t the kind of tired you can push through by getting a good night of sleep, or chugging an extra cup of coffee. This feeling of being drained can linger for weeks—even months or years. Simply just being tired, on the other hand, usually goes away after resting up a bit.

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

How common is it?

Almost everyone diagnosed with cancer experiences fatigue, whether from the cancer itself, the treatment or both. Fatigue is so common that about 3 in 4 guys with prostate cancer go through it.

What causes fatigue?

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 getting enough sleep or rest

  • eating poorly

  • not getting the right amount of exercise

  • stress, anxiety, or depression

  • aches and pains from treatment

  • your chemotherapy sessions

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

Fatigue and chemotherapy

During chemo, your energy levels will probably be up and down. Your doctor will tell you how many rounds of chemo you’ll have and how many weeks your sessions will last. Fatigue can make this time challenging. As you have more sessions, the fatigue can start to feel worse.

After finishing a whole course of chemotherapy, most men find their energy levels improve. Even with this improvement, however, it can feel like the fatigue is lingering on for a few weeks or a bit longer.

What can you do to
pump up your energy?

Make sure you eat as healthy as possible before, during and after treatment—lots of veggies, nuts and other whole, unprocessed foods. Try to stay physically active as well. There are plenty of exercises you can do to boost your energy levels. To get started, talk to your doctor or care team about creating a nutrition and workout plan that works for you.

Talk to your doctor or care team
if you’re fatigued from chemotherapy

After chemotherapy, fatigue can last a few weeks or even a bit longer. 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 during chemotherapy 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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