What Is the Difference Between Cancer-Related Fatigue and Normal Everyday Fatigue?

Andrea Barsevick answers the question: 'Cancer Fatigue vs. Normal Fatigue?'

ByAndrea Barsevick, R.N., Director, Nursing Research and Education, Fox Chase Cancer Center
May 8, 2008, 4:48 PM

— -- Question: What is the difference between cancer-related fatigue and normal everyday fatigue?

Answer: Cancer related fatigue differs from the normal fatigue that healthy people feel every day in a couple of ways. First of all, when I feel fatigued it's usually because I've not gotten enough sleep the night before or I've been much too active. And I can deal with that fatigue by resting, getting enough rest or sleep. However, people with cancer fatigue cannot use rest to compensate for the kind of fatigue that they're experiencing. It's very possible to wake up from a full night's rest and still feel fatigued, and have that fatigue stay with you for the rest of the day. So, cancer fatigue is a very different experience from the kind of fatigue that normal, healthy people feel.

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