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Fatigue

Feeling fatigued due to melanoma treatments such as radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy is common.

 

You may notice a feeling of intense tiredness or weakness that’s not usually relieved by rest or sleep. Just remember that fatigue is usually temporary. You will feel stronger and more energetic in the weeks after treatment ends.

 

If fatigue persists, it may be due to anemia, too few red blood cells in the bloodstream resulting in reduced oxygen to tissues and organs. Anemia is treatable by blood transfusion, iron replacement, or hormones that stimulate red cell production.

Tips to Ease Fatigue: Activities

  • Pace your activities for the day. Be sure to include periods of rest between activities that tire you out.

  • Set realistic goals. Increase or decrease your activities as needed.

  • Don't be afraid to ask for and accept help with chores: delegate!

  • Look for ways to save your energy. For example, prepare meals sitting down instead of standing. Limit trips up and down the stairs.

  • Try to maintain rhythm in your movements; this helps save energy.

  • Take time to rest or take naps.

  • Save time for activities you enjoy. Plan them as part of your day.

  • Plan a short period of light activity each day, such as a walk or a stroll. You may actually feel more tired if you are completely inactive.

  • Rest your eyes periodically.
  • Keep a "fatigue diary" to monitor your patterns of fatigue. This will help you plan your activities for the time of day when you have the most energy.

Tips to Ease Fatigue: Environment 

  • Work in a well-ventilated and lighted room.

  • Arrange your environment to minimize bending or reaching.

  • Maintain a moderate pace; however, use a slower pace if the room is hot or humid.

  • Use music for relaxation or stimulation.

Tips to Ease Fatigue: Eating and Drinking 

  • Eat a balanced diet with an emphasis on complex carbohydrates such as dried beans and peas, whole-grain breads and cereal, oatmeal, polenta, brown rice, vegetables, and whole-grain pastas. Complex carbohydrates provide long-lasting energy as well as important vitamins and minerals.

  • Drink at least 8 glasses of fluids a day, unless your doctor has restricted the amount of fluids you can drink. This will help flush out the by-products of cell destruction that may cause fatigue.

  • Avoid foods and beverages that contain caffeine, especially in the evening.



FAST FACTS

A regimen of exercise and drug therapy may be helpful in alleviating your fatigue.

 

Clinical trials are being conducted to test this.