Talking to your doctor or nurse about fatigue

It’s important to talk about your experience of fatigue with your healthcare team as there may be things that can be done to help you feel better.

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

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

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, you can show it to the healthcare professionals looking after you.

It can often be difficult to discuss emotions, especially when you are ill, for fear of upsetting yourself and others. But it can really help to talk about your feelings with your doctors and nurses.

Here are some 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?
  • What medicines am I taking that may affect my energy level?
  • How much activity and exercise should I do?

Drug treatments for fatigue

At the moment, there aren’t any licensed drug treatments to help prevent or improve fatigue. Steroid drugs, such as dexamethasone, can sometimes be helpful. But they can have side effects, so you should discuss the possible benefits and disadvantages with your doctor.

Research into other drug treatments is ongoing. You may be asked to take part in a trial. Your doctor or specialist nurse can give you further information about any drug trials that may be suitable for you.

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.