Medical Services

Cancer Fatigue Program: 201-894-3707

FATIGUE is the most common side effect of cancer treatment...

FATIGUE in patients receiving radiation increases as treatment continues...

FATIGUE in chemotherapy patients is more distressing than nausea and vomiting...

FATIGUE is the unrecognized cause of disability in cancer patients. Many patients receive "all or nothing" recommendations to treat fatigue; they are either told to stay in bed or get up and exercise. But bed rest does not relieve fatigue in cancer patients and can cause deconditioning. The "get up and exercise" approach causes the "fatigue roller coaster," where cancer patients increase activity and then crash, experiencing more severe and long-lasting fatigue.

The Cancer Fatigue Management Program is now available to treat fatigue in cancer patients. The basis of Fatigue Management is occupational therapy. The occupational therapist assesses how patients use their energy in performing daily activities, including self-care, dressing, household and work tasks. Patients are helped to listen to their bodies by keeping daily symptom and activity logs to identify the causes of fatigue and learn to stop activities before they are exhausted. The occupational therapist then identifies ways to simplify work, pace activities, add rest breaks, and conserve energy, all designed to decrease fatigue:

A dietitian will also see patients to assess protein and calorie intake to help maintain weight and decrease fatigue.

A physical therapist, if needed, will assess muscle weakness, evaluate posture and gait as well as the need for assistive devices for walking. As fatigue comes under control, a non-fatiguing conditioning and strengthening exercise program will be developed for patients.

Through the Cancer Fatigue Management Program patients learn to stop activities before they become exhausted and get off the roller coaster that prevents fatigue from improving.