Getting help with fatigue

How fatigue is managed depends on what is causing it. It is important to talk about fatigue with your healthcare team. There may be ways to improve it.

Your doctor will check for any causes of fatigue that can be treated, such as anaemia. They may examine you and you may have some blood tests. They may also look at the medicines you are taking. This is to check whether they can make changes to them that might improve fatigue. For example, they may reduce the dose of a tablet that makes you sleepy.

Drug treatments for fatigue

There are not any licensed drug treatments to help prevent or improve fatigue yet. Steroid drugs, such as dexamethasone, can sometimes be helpful. But they can have side effects, so you should talk to your doctor about the possible benefits and disadvantages.

Research into other drug treatments is ongoing. Your doctor or specialist nurse can give you information about any drug trials that may be suitable for you.

Getting support

If you are finding it very difficult to cope with fatigue, it can help to explain any problems to your doctor or nurse.

Tell them about the activities you find difficult. These activities may be things like climbing stairs, cooking or bathing. Let them know if anything makes the fatigue better or worse. If you are keeping a fatigue diary, you can show it to your doctor or nurse.

Here are some questions you may like to ask:

  • What could be causing my fatigue?
  • Are there any treatments that may help?
  • What can I do to help reduce my fatigue?
  • Could my medicines be affecting my energy level?
  • What help is available?

My haematologist said, “It can take a year, it can take a couple of years, it can take months”. It’s not set in stone. That was a shock, I think.


Back to Tiredness (fatigue)

What is fatigue?

Fatigue is feeling very tired most, or all, of the time. It is a very common problem for people with cancer.

What causes fatigue?

The cause of cancer-related-fatigue (CRF) is not fully understood. There may be many reasons for it.

Living with fatigue

Planning ahead can help if you have fatigue. There are things you can do to make everyday life easier.