Energy Conservation - Cancer Therapy and Fatigue

QUESTION: I have been a very active person undergoing cancer therapy treatment for the past six months. I find that my mind is still very active and motivated but my body is tired out. I wonder if you could recommend any energy conserving techniques that would still allow me to participate fully and minimize the impact of fatigue related to cancer therapy.

ANSWER:  The feelings you are describing are entirely normal.  When you have completed your therapy, your energy will likely return and the related fatigue will likely disappear.  In the meantime, the following are some suggestions that may assist you in maximizing your activity while conserving energy during cancer therapy:

  • Most cancer therapy is cyclical.  That is, there are times when you feel fatigue and times when you feel better.  If you have been undergoing cancer therapy for several months, my guess is that these times are predictable.  Save your most energy using activities for that interval of time when you feel better.
  • If you have shopping to do, consider shopping out of catalogs or on the Internet.  Most items are available at a wide range of prices.  This will avoid traffic, crowds, and long walks through malls "searching."
  • Make lists of things you wish to accomplish.  Make sure each entry is a single task (e.g. make pie) rather than multiple tasks (e.g. make dinner).   This way, tasks can be managed in short periods of energy rather than requiring a whole day, and fatigue is less common.
  • Ask for and accept help when the cancer therapy affects you most.  Most people are happy to help.  They simply need direction.
  • Take a nap if you need it.  Don't try to push yourself too hard.
  • Start early.  The more time you have in front of you're the less pressure you will feel and the more you will be able to accomplish.
  • Set priorities.  Decide which events/activities are most important to you.  Limit participation to what you can realistically do.

Allow yourself the flexibility to rest if you need to and do when you feel up to it.  The bottom line is to enjoy whatever you do, and it will lessen the effects of fatigue brought on by cancer therapy.

Note:  We strongly encourage you to talk with your health care professional about your specific medical condition and treatments. The information contained in this website is meant to be helpful and educational, but is not a substitute for medical advice.

Clinical Trials

Search Cancer Clinical Trials

Carefully controlled studies to research the safety and benefits of new drugs and therapies.


Peer Support

4th Angel Mentoring Program

Connect with a 4th Angel Mentor and speak to someone who understands.


Social Links