Talking to your doctor or nurse about fatigue

Preparing for your appointment

Prepare for your next appointment with your doctor or nurse by writing down any questions that you want to ask. Don’t be embarrassed to ask them to repeat or explain anything that you don’t understand. It may help to take a relative or friend with you and to have a notebook to jot down any information, as it can be difficult to remember what’s been said when you have fatigue.

It can sometimes be difficult for your healthcare team to understand how much fatigue is affecting your life and how distressing it is. It’s important to describe your symptoms to them. You may need to emphasise to your doctors and nurses the difficulties that fatigue is causing.

Tell them about the activities you find difficult, such as climbing stairs, cooking or bathing. Let them know if anything makes the fatigue better or worse. If you have kept a fatigue diary [PDF], you can take it with you and show it to the healthcare professionals looking after you.

Your doctor will look for any causes of your fatigue that can be treated. They may examine you and may organise some blood tests.

It can often be difficult to discuss emotions, especially when you are ill, for fear of upsetting yourself and others. Try not to let embarrassment stop you discussing your feelings with your doctors and nurses.

Here are some specific questions you may like to ask:

  • What could be causing my fatigue?
  • What treatments may help?
  • How can I cope with my fatigue?
  • What help is available?
  • What can I do to help reduce my fatigue?

You may find it helpful to make a note of any questions you might want to ask, and the answers you receive.

Back to Tiredness (fatigue)

What is fatigue?

Fatigue is feeling very tired most, or all, of the time. It can sometimes be caused by cancer or cancer treatment.

What causes fatigue?

There are many causes of fatigue. Knowing about them may help you to cope with your fatigue a bit better.

Tips for better rest

Tiredness can affect your sleeping patterns. There are ways to manage this so you get the most out of your rest.