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Bowel cancer and fatigue

Lacking energy and fatigue is a common side-effect of bowel cancer, whether from the cancer itself, or as a result of treatments for the cancer.

Even everyday basic tasks can seem exhausting, as well as having trouble concentrating and sleeping.

What causes fatigue with bowel cancer?

Fatigue may be due to:

What can I do about fatigue with bowel cancer?

If fatigue is affecting daily life, talk to your cancer care team about things that may help. If you experience depression or anxiety, ask for specific help with those symptoms.

The charity Beating Bowel Cancer offers tips for coping with bowel cancer fatigue, including:

  • Go out and have some fresh air every day
  • Even though you may not feel like it, try to do some regular but gentle exercise, such as walking or yoga
  • After exercise or activity, take some time to rest
  • If you need a nap in the afternoon, make sure you wake up ready for the evening
  • Consider complementary therapies, such as meditation, acupuncture, massage, reflexology, aromatherapy, music therapy or reiki to help with anxiety or stress
  • Try to stick to a daily routine, including getting out of bed in the morning
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet if you can to maintain energy levels
  • Stay hydrated with plenty of water, squash or diluted juice or herbal tea
  • Let family and friends help out with tiring tasks like cleaning and shopping.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on September 14, 2016

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