fbpx Skip to main content
Bloomhill NewsClinical Care

Managing cancer related fatigue

By September 29, 2022No Comments

The information in this document is this is intended as a guide and for information only. All information provided by Bloomhill is based on research and best practice guidelines, and is based on resources from organisations such as the Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre, Cancer Council and Macmillan (UK) Cancer Centre. Bloomhill Cancer Care’s model of care utilizes the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA) domains of wellness along with available clinical evidence.  Always consult your care team regarding matters that affect your health.

Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is one of the most prevalent and distressing symptoms people living with with cancer experience, both during and after treatment, and can persist for months to years. CRF can arise due to both cancer itself, and cancer treatments including chemotherapy, immunotherapy, targeted treatments, hormone therapy and radiation therapy. CRF is the persistent and sense of physical, cognitive and emotional exhaustion – that is often not relieved by resting.

Whilst there is no simple treatment or fix of CRF there are a number of lifestyle changes and activities that have been shown to improve CRF, and help people manage CRF better.


Moderate intensity exercise has been shown through multiple studies to be effective in the management of CRF – that means exercise that noticeably increases your heart rate and breathing. Gradually increasing the amount of exercise to 30mins 3-5 days per week. Exercises such as brisk walking, swimming, cycling, dancing, strengthening exercises, are great ideas for exercise.

It is always a good idea before commencing an exercise program to see an exercise physiologist who specialises in prescribing safe and effective exercise programs for people with chronic medical conditions, injuries or disabilities. An EP can help build up your physical fitness, improve strength, joint range, coordination and balance.

Good Nutrition

Eating a well-balanced diet including a wide variety of foods, and ensuring you are eating enough to meet your body’s needs can also help reduce CRF. Talking with a dietitian may be helpful if your fatigue is not getting better. They can check that you are eating a nutritionally balanced diet. They can also advise if you need to eat more if you are exercising more.



Getting adequate, good quality sleep is important, and can help improve CRF. Having a relaxing routine before bed, establishing consistent bed times, limiting day time naps to 1 hour in the early afternoon are some tips for getting good quality sleep.

Mindfulness activities, relaxation

Activities such as Yoga and QiGong have been studied and shown to be effective in improving CRF.

Touch therapies

Reflexology, acupuncture, massage, aromatherapy, music therapy all have some research showing they may help reduce CRF, or help people cope better with CRF.

3 P’s: Prioritise, Plan, Pace

1. Decide what is the most important things to get done and prioritise those – ask yourself: does this need doing all at once, can this wait until another day, does it need doing at all? Treat your energy like a piggy bank; and only spend your energy on activities that want or need to do most.

2. Plan your day; book appointments or activities for the time of day when you have most energy. Don’t plan too much in one day.

3. Pace yourself; do a little bit at a time, and ensure you have regular rests.


Resources for further information:


If you have any questions, or want to talk with one of the Bloomhill nurses about fatigue management, or any of the services and support available at Bloomhill then please feel welcome to email nurses@bloomhill.com.au, call 54445 5794, or pop in. We are here to support.

To arrange an appointment with our exercise physiologist Ryan, dietician Annelise, or to book a massage, reflexology or acupuncture appointment then please contact reception on 07 5445 5794 or visit our website for more information www.bloomhill.com.au.