Fatigue After Cancer Treatment

Cancer treatment can be extremely taxing on the patient’s health. According to a recent article patients who are being treated for cancer are often plagued with fatigue. A new study of over three dozen separate studies appears to suggest that regular walking or cycling could help to boost more energy for patients. Patients who have complained of fatigue that is long-lasting, will typically be told that the fatigue is a side effect of the cancer, even if it includes cancer related pain, and could also be a side effect of treatments including chemotherapy. Previous studies suggested that talk therapy, nutrition counseling, and even acupuncture are possible ways to reduce cancer related fatigue during and even after treatment. However, light to moderate exercise is advantageous because people can do it with little to no guidance or cost.
“We’re not expecting people to go out and be running a mile the next day,” said Fiona Cramp, who worked on the analysis at the University of the West of England in Bristol. Some people feel well enough that they can jog or bike ride, but for others this would be difficult. Researchers encourage people to start with a low level of activity and increase as it is tolerated by their body. The majority of the research was based on women with breast cancer. Although the types of exercise varied from walking to weight training or yoga more than half of the studies were comprised of multiple exercises and allowed patients to choose their own physical activity. Combine results prove that physical activity whether it was during or after cancer treatment is directly associated with improved energy. Specifically aerobic exercises such as walking and cycling tended to reduce fatigue more than resistance training.  Dr. Seify encourages patients to maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine as instructed by their treating physician following breast reconstruction surgery. It is common that women will have symptoms including fatigue following their surgery in combination with their breast cancer treatment. It is important to note that the process for breast reconstruction will require a time commitment through completion; however, patients are well-prepared by Dr. Seify and his staff prior to surgery so that their expectations will be met.

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