7 ways to fight cancer-related fatigue

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distressed woman.jpgFatigue is a common side effect of cancer treatment, including chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

We asked our Facebook community for advice for coping with cancer-related fatigue. Here's what our patients suggested.

Be as active as possible

  • Exercise. We know it can be tough when you're tired, but even walking from your door to the mailbox can help you feel better. If you're feeling up for it, try an activity like yoga.
  • Take naps. Your body is healing. It's OK to rest.

Maintain a healthy diet
  • Hydrate. Drink plenty of water. Our patients also recommend smoothies and ginger and green tea. Talk to one of our dietitians about what you should be eating and drinking during and after cancer treatment.
  • Eat plant-based protein, such as beans, nuts, edamame or tofu. This can help you build and maintain energy.

Keep a positive outlook
  • Don't compare yourself to others. Cancer treatment is different for everyone, so be patient with yourself. Don't compare your recovery to that of another patient. And try not to compare your energy level now to your energy level before treatment. Your body needs time to rest.  
  • Participate in music therapy. In addition to helping ease fatigue, music therapy can help patients manage stress, alleviate pain and express feelings. MD Anderson offers music therapy for children and adult patients and their families through our Integrative Medicine Center. Call 713-794-4700 to learn more.
  • Try acupuncture.  Acupuncture is available for MD Anderson patients. Not only does it ease fatigue, but it also may be beneficial for those dealing with nausea, dry mouth and hot flashes. To request an acupuncture appointment, call our Integrative Medicine Center at 713-794-4700.
Remember to consult your doctor before trying new methods to cope with fatigue.

Watch Carmen Escalante, M.D., director of our Cancer-Related Fatigue Clinic, discuss fatigue treatment options:

MD Anderson patients can get help coping with fatigue by asking their primary MD Anderson physician for a referral to our Cancer-Related Fatigue Clinic.

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