How Can I Reduce Fatigue from Radiation Treatment?

Andrea Barsevick answers the question: 'How to Cut Fatigue from Radiation?'

ByAndrea Barsevick, R.N., Director, Nursing Research and Education, Fox Chase Cancer Center
September 24, 2007, 6:13 PM

— -- Question: What can I do to reduce fatigue caused by my radiation treatments?

Answer: There are two ways that you can manage your fatigue. First, if your fatigue is because of anemia, you can talk to your doctor about that and get your anemia treated. But if your fatigue is not caused by anemia -- if it's just the general fatigue that accompanies radiation therapy -- then the most effective way that we have for managing that right now is exercise. Exercise has been shown in several research studies to be a very effective way of managing not only the fatigue that you feel, but also, if there's any sleep disturbance, reducing that -- and in that way, reducing fatigue. The exercise does not have to be on any grand scale. In fact, one of the studies was done using simple walking exercise, just women walking around their neighborhood, who were undergoing radiation therapy for breast cancer. And they reported much less fatigue and much less problems with sleeping because they were exercising regularly.

Next: What Is Fibrosis, And Does Radiation Cause It?

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

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events