Fatigue and Cancer: What To Do To Fight Cancer Fatigue
Fatigue and cancer! One of the most pervasive side effects during cancer treatment is cancer fatigue. Fatigue from cancer is caused many factors – including but not limited to side effects of the treatment (especially radiation therapy), poor nutritional intake, dehydration, lack of physical activity, in addition to the demanding nature of many treatment schedules and doctor’s visits. Many cancer patients do not expect to experience cancer fatigue as much as they do – and find it trouble to tackle, especially while managing the many other aspects of cancer treatment.
Helpful Suggestions to Help Combat Fatigue from Cancer
In Eating Well Through Cancer there’s a chapter devoted to High Protein recipes to help with fatigue from cancer. The Snacks and Smoothie chapters are great to help with small meals throughout the day. There are healthy easy recipes for cancer patients to help fight fatigue from cancer.
Drink Enough Fluid and Stay Active To Help Fatigue from Cancer
Drinking enough fluid is important, since dehydration can contribute to fatigue from cancer. This is especially important after chemotherapy infusion to help the body properly flush medication through your system. It is advised to drink at least 8 8-oz glasses of fluids per day (64 oz total). Fluids include water, juice, broth, decaffeinated tea and coffee, fruit ice, ice pops, and gelatin. Try to keep a bottle nearby and sip regularly throughout the day.
Stay active, if able: Physical activity helps with fatigue and cancer. Even though one might think that it seems counter-intuitive to do so because it would make you more tired! By increasing blood flow and keeping muscles active – fatigue can be reduced. It does not have to be strenuous – even a simple walk around the house can help!
Foods To Fight Cancer Fatigue
Consume small, frequent meals: By eating a little bit throughout the day you can ensure that your body can use the fuel from the food you eat to maintain your energy level. It is also a great strategy to help increase nutritional intake when your appetite is diminished. Because, then you only have to eat a little bit at a time. Eating a lot at once won’t overwhelm you. Snack on easy grab-and-go foods like cheese and crackers, granola bars, trail mix, shakes and smoothies. My Granola Bar recipe from Eating Well Through Cancer makes a perfect snack for on the go. Also, in the cancer cookbook, a chapter is devoted to Smoothies. Smoothies make a quick snack or a small meal and can be made in minutes.
Nutrient-dense foods, rich in calories, protein, vitamins and minerals can help you to ensure that you’re consuming the right nutrients to support your body’s energy level. This helps fatigue from cancer! Aim to include good sources of lean protein – such as egg, poultry, fish, nuts like my easy Sweet Spicy Walnuts recipe and beans; along with colorful fruits and vegetables and whole grains. These foods are rich sources of nutrients that your body needs to stay strong during and after cancer treatment. This well help with fatigue from cancer. A good lean protein recipe is the Lemon Feta Chicken from the 700 Club appearance.
Family, Friends and Healthcare Team Understand Fatigue and Cancer
Enlist the help of family and friends: Do not hesitate to ask for help if you need it – with housekeeping, groceries, and cooking. There are many local and nationwide services available to help cancer patients as well. For example, Savor Health has convenient nationwide meal delivery, nutritional counseling, and menu planning services available for cancer patients and caregivers.
Communicate with your healthcare team: There is a correlation from fatigue and cancer. If fatigue does not improve or gets worse, be sure to speak with your healthcare team. Other conditions, such as anemia (lower levels of red blood cells) and infection can contribute to fatigue so it is important not to ignore your symptoms of they persist.