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Cancer-related fatigue: what it is and how to manage it

Published on: 26 April 2024

Many people with lymphoma experience fatigue – an exhaustion that can be mental, physical and emotional. 

Person sitting on bench

Our recently updated information about cancer-related fatigue includes suggestions to help manage fatigue and answers to commonly asked questions

Cancer-related fatigue can happen before diagnosis, during treatment, and for some time afterwards. It can have a significant impact on day-to-day life, with people reporting changes to their ability to focus, plan, and do their usual activities. Understandably, it can have a knock-on effect on relationships and emotional wellbeing.

Fatigue can be a symptom of lymphoma and a side effect of treatment. However, one of the complexities is that several factors can play a role, for example: your age, lymphoma type and the treatment you are having or have had. Other health conditions and medications can also contribute. Emotional factors like low mood, heightened levels of stress and anxiety, and difficulties sleeping can all have an impact too.

Leading a healthy lifestyle can be highly beneficial in helping to reduce fatigue. This includes good diet and nutrition, taking some exercise and physical activity, managing stress, not smoking, and keeping to within the recommended limits of alcohol intake

If you're affected by fatigue, speak to your medical team so that they can give advice specific to your situation. 

At the end of treatment, my fatigue was extreme. At first, despite going to bed early, I still needed to have an afternoon nap. I tried to go out every day for a very short walk around the block and I also really enjoyed going out for coffee so that I could be around people. A year on, I still go to bed early but can stay awake long enough to read now, and don’t need naps in the day. 

Penny, affected by cancer-related fatigue

Read Penny's full story, where she talks about her experience of treatment, and living with lymphoma.

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You can also download our book: Living with and beyond lymphoma, which has more tips to help you live well.