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  • Question: Any ideas on how to handle fatigue in a 50-year-old male with a Anaplastic Astrocytoma, who is undergoing PCV therapy? He sleeps about 12 hours a day and is tired the time he is up.
  • Answer:06/18/2001
    Fatigue is a common occurence with chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. Factors contributing to fatigue are worry, poor appetite, and lack of sleep. The following hints may be helpful in managing fatigue: conserve energy by noting the individual's natural rhythm - note the time of day when the fatigue peaks and plan around this time. If the individual is most tired six hours after being up, then try to get most of the tasks done before this time period. Prioritize the task and tackle the important ones first. When possible, pass the task along to someone else to provide some relief to the individual. Often, family and friends want to do something to help out, give them a specific task and both parties stand to benefit. Accept the help when it is offered, let them fix a meal, do laundry, feed the pet, pick up groceries or wash the car. Plan rest times, a nap may be refreshing and needed before the actual bedtime.

    Just sitting quietly, perhaps listening to music for a few minutes may induce relaxation and help the person to feel more rested. Audio tapes are available with guided imagery that many find helpful in reducing stress and fostering a sense of peace. Ask the physician about an individualized exercise program before starting a new regimen. Exercise needs to be avoided 24 hours before and after treatment. A gentle exercise program can actually help the individual to fee more energized. Walking, stretching and yoga are examples of low intensity activity. However, extreme fatigue can also be a sign of anemia (a shortage of red blood cells). Certain medications can cause fatigue. Ask the physician if other medications can be substituted if the drugs are causing the fatigue. It is also important to eat a well balanced diet. Eating raw fruits and vegetables may raise the risk of infection for the cancer patient who may have an impaired ability to ward off infections due to a reduced white blood cell count. If raw fruits and vegetables are eaten, they need to be thoroughly washed and scrubbed with a small fine brush. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can also cause anemia. Liquid supplements can help the individual get needed nutrients. Ask the physician to recommend one if needed. The physician can best determine when to treat the anemia either by a blood transfusion, if the anemia is severe enough, or by medication to increase red blood cell production if appropriate for that individual. The physician should be called for shortness of breath, chest pain, paler skin than normal, extreme fatigue or dizziness when getting up from a lying down or sitting position.
DISCLAIMER
This site is designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice or professional services. The information provided at this web site is of a general nature and is not intended to take the place of a physician's advice. We encourage individuals to discuss what they find on this site with their healthcare providers. The answer above was provided by a volunteer, based solely on their experiances and thoughts. These volunteers do not get paid and are not responsible for the accuracy of their responses. IF you disagree with a response, let us know and we will look into it.


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