Fatigue

Prostate Cancer UK

Fatigue is a feeling of extreme tiredness that doesn’t go away, even after you rest.

Fatigue is different from normal tiredness. Normal tiredness might affect you if you’ve worked hard, exercised, or if you haven’t had enough sleep. Unlike fatigue, normal tiredness usually gets better once you’ve rested.

Fatigue is very common in men with prostate cancer. Around three in four men with prostate cancer (74 per cent) will have fatigue at some point. There are things you can do to help manage your fatigue and give you more energy. And there’s a lot of support available.

How might fatigue make me feel?

You might use some of these words to describe how fatigue makes you feel: tired, exhausted, weak, lethargic, drained, knackered, shattered, whacked, beat, spent, weary, drowsy, weighed down, done in

Fatigue can make it hard to carry out your daily activities. It can make it difficult to do some things, such as:

  • everyday tasks, such as getting dressed, having a shower or preparing food
  • social activities, such as seeing friends and family
  • sleeping (insomnia)
  • concentrating
  • remembering things
  • understanding new information and making decisions.

Some men find that they suddenly feel very tired. This means you need to be careful in certain situations – for example, when you are driving.

Fatigue can affect your mood. It might make you feel sad, depressed, or anxious. And you may feel guilty that you can’t do the things you normally do.

It can also have an impact on your relationships. You may start to depend more on others. You might not feel able to go to work or see your friends and family as much as usual. This can make you feel lonely or isolated. Fatigue can also affect your sex life, as you may not have enough energy for sex.

Many men are surprised by how tired they feel and by the impact it has on their lives. Some men tell us that fatigue is one of the hardest parts of having prostate cancer. It can be very frustrating, especially if you are used to being active.

Every man’s experience is different. You might have some or all of these effects of fatigue. And your feelings might change over time.

Understanding new information

Because fatigue can affect your concentration, you might find it hard to understand new information about your prostate cancer. You might feel stressed about having to make decisions about your treatment. Talk to your doctor or nurse and take your time to make sure you have all the information you need before making any big decisions.

Why might I get fatigue?

We don’t know exactly why men with prostate cancer commonly get fatigue. It’s likely that lots of different things are involved, including the following.

Prostate cancer itself

Cancer can stop the normal cells in your body from working properly. This can change the way your body uses energy and can cause fatigue.

Treatments for prostate cancer

All treatments for prostate cancer can cause fatigue. Your fatigue is likely to be worse if you have hormone therapy, radiotherapy or chemotherapy, or more than one treatment at the same time.

Stress, anxiety or depression

Feeling stressed or worried can cause fatigue. You might be worried about being diagnosed with cancer or about having treatment. Depression can also cause fatigue.

Travelling to appointments

Travelling to the hospital or GP surgery for treatments and check-ups can make your fatigue worse.

Symptoms of advanced prostate cancer

Some problems that can be caused by advanced prostate cancer, such as pain or anaemia, can cause fatigue.

Pain or pain-relieving drugs

You might have pain caused by your prostate cancer or by another health problem. Pain can make your fatigue worse. Some pain-relieving drugs can also cause fatigue(. Speak to your doctor to make sure you’re on the best pain-relieving drugs for you.

Other health problems

Some other health problems, such as kidney disease or arthritis, can cause fatigue.

Not sleeping well

Not sleeping well at night can make your fatigue worse. And having fatigue can make it harder to sleep well. You might have worries that keep you awake at night. Or you might wake up in the night because of symptoms of prostate cancer or side effects from your treatment, such as having a hot flush or needing to urinate.

Lack of physical activity

Being inactive can make your fatigue worse. It can also make it harder to sleep properly at night. You might not have a lot of energy so it can be difficult to be more active. But taking up regular physical activity during your treatment can improve your fatigue.

Other things that use up energy

Other things may also use up your energy and make your fatigue worse – things like going to work, caring for other people, or meeting up with friends or family. It’s important to think about things like this, to see what could be making your fatigue worse.

To learn more, click this link.

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