What advice do you give to patients about dealing with fatigue from radiation therapy?
The best way to deal with fatigue from radiation therapy is creating a balance between getting enough rest and staying active enough. To succumb to the fatigue and give up physical activity would create a vicious cycle resulting in less energy and more fatigue. Yet you don’t want to push yourself too much. It is all right to go to bed earlier, get up a little bit later or even take a nap during the day if one feels that tired but it is important to schedule a routine daily activity such as walking and stick with it throughout the course of radiation therapy. The other very important factor is to stay hydrated. Dehydration would negatively impact one’s level of energy and may even interfere with their sleep pattern. This is particularly important during the warmer seasons and during the routine daily activity. Extremes of temperature should be avoided. A minimum of 8 cups of fluid per day will prevent dehydration. (That is 64 ounces, 2 quarts, or 1 half-gallon). Beverages containing caffeine do NOT count neither do alcoholic ones. Maintaining good nutrition can help you feel better and have more overall energy. Sticking to a regular schedules such as going to bed at a certain time and eating at regular hours would also be very helpful in creating that fine balance between resting and staying active.