Cancer-related fatigue; CRF
Your fatigue could be caused by one or more factors. Here are ways having cancer can cause fatigue.
Simply having cancer can drain your energy:
Many cancer treatments cause fatigue as a side effect:
Talk to your health care provider. Keep track of following details so you can tell your provider about your fatigue.
Knowing the level and trigger of your fatigue can help your provider better treat it.
Save your energy. Take steps to organize your home and life. Then you can spend your energy doing what matters most to you.
Eat well. Make safe nutrition a priority. If you have lost your appetite, eat foods high in calories and protein to keep your energy up.
Stay active. Sitting still for too long can make fatigue worse. Some light activity can get your circulation going. You should not exercise to the point of feeling more tired while you are being treated for cancer. But taking a daily walk with as many breaks as you need can help boost your energy and sleep better.
Call your provider if fatigue is making it difficult or impossible for you to manage basic tasks. Call your provider right away if you feel any of these things:
Berger AM, Gerber LH, Mayer DK. Cancer related fatigue. Cancer. 2012;118(8 Suppl):2261-9. PMID: 22488700
Campos MPO, Hassan BJ, Riechelmann R, Del Giglio A. Cancer-related fatigue: a practical review. Annals of Oncology. 2011;22(6):1273-9. PMID: 21325448
National Cancer Institute: PDQ® Fatigue. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. Last Updated: 8/24/14. Available at:
Last reviewed on: 10/13/2014
Reviewed by: Christine Zhang, MD, Medical Oncologist, Fresno, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.