The feeling of tiredness associated with cancer – Fatigue

Tiredness is an often case for people, going through the cancer fighting journey and the ones, who have already overcome this disease. There are data, that demonstrate that ninety percent of oncology patients feel severe tiredness at some particular period of their treatment, while for cancer conquerors it is around forty five per cent. The tiredness, which is the result of cancer, has the special term for it “cancer-related fatigue (CRF)”, and it is differing from the ordinary tiredness. CRF is affecting every part of a person life, as well as it may cause a reduction in survival.

According to the explanation of the term CRF – it is tiresome, permanent, individual feeling of exhaustion (both body and mind), which is associated with oncology and / or oncology treatment and is not being comparably sized to the last functioning and affects daily activities. Today the increasing number of cancer clinics are opting for integrative therapies in order to treat this composite disease. Such therapies have demonstrated very effective options, available today.

Reasons for Fatigue

So far, the reasons leading to cancer related fatigue, are not clear. However, the common opinion is that it is a multidisciplinary syndrome with a combination of symptoms, including depressions, anxieties and sleep issues.

In case of cancer related fatigue there are often such conditions, that can be measured, for example, anemia, lack of nutrient shortage, hormonal issues. But in most cases, there are unperceivable factors, that include pain, anxiety, lack of proper sleep, worsening of physical condition, adverse events caused by therapies. Also, it is crucial to mention, that the disease itself may cause the feeling of permanent fatigue.

Taking into consideration the level of difficulty of the condition, as well as the problem in measuring the status of the patient, active treatment methods are being restricted.

Possibilities of minimizing the condition

Even though there is no real estimation of the cancer related fatigue factors, researchers keep working in order to offer the treatment options for the patients suffering from this condition. Thus, some evidence based healing strategies have demonstrated their effect against cancer related fatigue. Some of these therapies are:

Curcumin – Turmeric has also long been used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, as it contains Curcumin, a compound which is known to offer several health benefits, including cancer-related fatigue. Various studies have proven the beneficial role of curcumin in the stress and fatigue control, thanks to its antioxidant effect.

Intra-Venous Vitamin C – the summary of some human trials, performed in 2018, revealed that IV ascorbic acid in the dosage up to 25 g, is able to increase the quality of various life factors, for example, cancer related fatigue. What is also important to note, that this increasement, was seen in the people receiving chemo treatment.

Mistletoe (European Mistletoe) – its extracts have a long historical application and medical evidences, proving it to be a safe and beneficial complementary oncology treatment method, which is helping to improve the quality of life factors, such as cancer related fatigue. Mistletoe is being widely applied in all cancer types, however in case of gynecology tumours and breast cancers it has demonstrated a remarkable effect on cancer related fatigue.

Acupuncture – even though this method were more often used to manage such symptoms as pain and nausea for oncology patients, some latest research revealed that this therapy is also very effective for cancer related fatigue.

Physical Activity – aerobic activity, which has countless beneficial effects on people’s health, is also demonstrating positive effect in case of cancer related fatigue, especially for cancer conquerors.  It is recommended for the adult cancer conquerors to practice regular cancer activity. This will not only reduce cancer related fatigue, but also decrease the risks of cancer relapse.

Proper sleep – The big number of studies, investigating sleep issues and fatigue condition in cancer patients, revealed a remarkable interconnection between cancer related fatigue and different sleep factors. Thus, it is obvious that such factors are the quality of sleep, and the hours of proper sleep are directly linked to cancer related fatigue. Managing sleep issues in most of the cases is the first step to take in solving the cancer related fatigue condition.  Sleep management can be as simple as replacing the body with a missing nutrient or Vitamin and a consultation with a nutritionist might be the fix.

Qigong – A traditional Chinese exercise which literally means  ‘life-energy cultivation’ involves moving meditation, coordinating slow-flowing movement, deep rhythmic breathing, and a calm meditative state of mind. A 17-week RCT in 2013 looked at fatigue, anxiety, and depression in ME/CFS. Researchers say the qigong group showed significant improvement in: Total fatigue, physical fatigue and depression.


Cancer related fatigue is considered to be the most exhausting symptom. Thus, to manage this condition you need the professional clinician, who will pay attention to all the factors of your health. Cooperating with the integrative doctor will make the best of it too, as complementary therapies are proved to be effective in case of cancer related fatigue and in future this condition will have more options for managing.

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