Fatigue and the psychological effects of cancer

Anxiety, depression, stress and tension, as well as a poor sleeping pattern, can all contribute to fatigue. It’s common for people to have anxiety or depression when they’re first diagnosed with cancer. However, these feelings generally get easier to manage as you come to terms with what has happened.

You may find it helpful to discuss how you feel with your partner, a family member or close friend. Some people find it helpful to talk to other people at a local support group, or join an internet support group.

Macmillan’s Online Community is a place you can talk to others who understand what you are going through.

If you find that your mood is low and continues to be low most of the time, you may have depression. If you have depression, your GP will discuss possible treatments with you. They can refer you to a counsellor and can prescribe medicines to help if necessary.

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 are thought to be many reasons for it.

Tips for a better night's sleep

Good-quality sleep is very important when you are tired. There are things you can do to help improve the quality of your sleep.

Managing your fatigue

Making some simple changes to your diet and exercise routine and learning how to relax may help you to manage symptoms of fatigue.

Support if you have fatigue

There is support available if you have fatigue. You might find it helps to talk to a counsellor or join a support group.