Concentration problems, weakness, fatigue, listlessness: Fatigue symptoms can severely affect everyday life. The problem with fatigue: Even with sufficient sleep, the complaints do not decrease. Fatigue (also: fatigue syndrome) is a concomitant, many suffer from cancer patients during cancer - the estimates vary between 14 and 96 percent. Difficult to handle is often the lack of understanding of the environment, if you can get up to nothing.
Causes of Fatigue in Cancer
The causes of fatigue (spoken: Fatieg) are not all clear. Certainly, cancer itself plays a role, so the fatigue syndrome is particularly common in certain types of cancer, such as leukemia or breast cancer. But the therapy itself also contributes to the fatigue: For example, radiation and chemotherapy are also an enormous burden for the healthy cells. In addition, especially in chemotherapy, harmful metabolic products accumulate that can intensify a fatigue syndrome.
In addition, cancer has many side effects, which in turn favor or increase fatigue: repeated infections, side effects of medication, pain and nausea. Malnutrition and muscular breakdown, which is common in cancer, can make a fatigue syndrome worse. An important cause is also the anemia, which creates and intensifies fatigue and fatigue. Another important influencing factor is the emotional burden of a cancer.
How exactly the physical and psychological factors interact individually and individually to lead to a fatigue syndrome, is still being researched.
Fatigue: symptoms and signs
The profound exhaustion and tiredness can take place on one or more levels. Physical (physical) fatigue is manifested by symptoms such as increased need for sleep, constant fatigue, and limited physical performance.
Cognitive, mental fatigue affects attention and memory. On the one hand there is a lack of concentration, on the other hand, circling thoughts lead to insomnia. The fatigue syndrome can also show on the emotional level and then resembles a depression. Signs are lack of motivation, lack of motivation, sadness and the desire to retire.
Recognize and treat fatigue
First, the doctor will get to the bottom of all physical causes. If possible, their treatment, for example anemia, a nutrient deficiency, a metabolic disorder or an infection, follows. Pain and nausea, as well as other symptoms that accompany the cancer, are treated and possibly drugs are changed.
However, such cause-and-effect therapy is often unsatisfactory against symptoms of fatigue. It is important, therefore, that those affected by fatigue do something themselves. The first step: the information that fatigue is a widespread accompanying symptom of cancer often already relieves the affected person and his relatives. It is also good to know that the fatigue syndrome lasts longer, but says nothing about the course of the disease and often improves with time.
The doctor will probably also explain that it is important to move physically despite the weakness: Activity often improves the symptoms of fatigue and seems to have a positive effect on the overall healing process. Relaxation methods may help to cope with everyday life and to optimize sleep behavior. Assistance in dealing with the fatigue syndrome for those affected and relatives also give cancer advice centers, experts in psycho-oncology and self-help groups.
Fatigue in MS and burn-out
However, fatigue does not only occur in cancer, but more rarely in other physical or mental illnesses, such as the fatigue syndrome in multiple sclerosis (MS) or burn-out. Despite similar denominations and symptoms in Germany, the cancer-induced fatigue syndrome is differentiated from the chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). This chronic fatigue syndrome, however, is not a separate disease in other countries.