Cancer is a life-changing diagnosis but the extent to which it changes your life depends on when it’s detected. That’s because the longer you leave cancer, the harder it is to treat. Acting on the warning signs as soon as they appear is therefore paramount.
One telltale sign can “strike” in the morning, warned Hussain Abdeh, Superintendent Pharmacist at Medicine Direct.
If you wake up constantly feeling exhausted and run down in the morning, this could indicate cancer, said the pharmacist.
The sensation Mr Abdeh is referring to is fatigue.
“This kind of tiredness and weariness will not go away no matter how much sleep you get and no matter whether you have had a hectic day or a very mundane one,” the pharmacist explained.
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He continued: “Certain types of cancer can cause people to lose their appetites, which can make them feel weaker and fatigued too.
“The body’s ability to use food for energy is also diminished when suffering from cancer, which can also result in fatigue.”
How to manage cancer-related fatigue
There are ways to manage fatigue and the symptoms you might have.
“It’s important to tell your doctor or nurse if you think you might have it,” says Cancer Research UK.
Research shows that light to moderate physical activity every day helps people with cancer. It can:
- Make you feel better
- Give you more energy
- Improve your appetite
- Help with your mood.
“It’s important to work at your level when you start off, build up safely and gradually. It’s also important that you do something you enjoy,” says Cancer Research UK.
The charity continues: “To start with you could go for a short walk each day. Then when you’re ready, try to increase the distance you walk. You can walk with family and friends to support you along the way.
“A pedometer is a great way of keeping track of how active you are.”
What causes fatigue?
Macmillan Cancer Support says: “The cancer may cause swelling in certain parts of the body, making your limbs heavier and harder to move.
“You may also have a reduced number of red blood cells or changes in hormone levels, which can cause tiredness.”
The psychological effects of cancer can also cause fatigue.
Macmillan Cancer Support explains: “Conditions such as anxiety, depression and stress can make fatigue worse. You may find it helpful to discuss how you feel with someone close to you or your healthcare team. Macmillan’s Online Community is a place you can talk to others who understand what you are going through.”