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I am experiencing extreme fatigue, to the point where if I sit down for even a few minutes, I fall asleep and stay asleep for a long time.  I'm really getting frustrated by this because I end up wasting most of the day sleeping.  I heard that exercising and keeping physically active helps decrease fatigue, is this true?  I thought exercise made you more tired and that it increased the risks of cancer patients, in their frail conditions, injuring themselves.

Posted: 23 Apr 2008 05:00 PM
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We have very good evidence from research that exercise will help prevent or decrease fatigue for many patients with cancer. The exercise programs that have been used to prevent or treat fatigue are not strenuous exercise. Many were walking programs that were self-paced. Other used stretch bands or video tapes of seated exercise. It seems that increasing the level of physical activity even slightly helps reduce fatigue. Many patients talk about starting with a little exercise and increasing it as the fatigue improves. If you are frail or have an increased risk of injury with activity (bone metastasis, osteoporosis, anemia, low platelet count, heart problems, lung problems, muscle weakness from long term inactivity or steroids, etc.), you can see a physical therapist or occupational therapist to have a safe exercise program developed for you. You might want to consider being evaluated in the Fatigue Clinic to be sure there is nothing else that is causing your fatigue that might be able to be corrected.

Posted: 23 Apr 2008 05:01 PM
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