Coping with breast cancer can be stressful and draining. Along with stress comes some physical ailments like fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and dry-mouth.
Managing stress can play an important role breast cancer treatment. Here are some suggestions to manage stress during breast cancer treatment.
• Adjust your expectations. For example, if you have a list of 10 things you want to accomplish today, pare it down to two and leave the rest for other days. A sense of accomplishment goes a long way to reducing stress.
• Help others understand and support you. Family and friends can be helpful if they can put themselves in your shoes and understand what fatigue means to you. Cancer groups can be a source of support as well. Other people with cancer understand what you are going through.
• Relaxation techniques such as audiotapes that teach deep breathing or visualization can help reduce stress.
• Divert your attention away from stress with activities such as knitting, reading or listening to music. These activities require little physical energy but require attention.
• If your stress seems out of control, talk to a healthcare professional.
Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is common with cancer and cancer treatment. Fatigue is often confused with tiredness. Tiredness happens to everyone. Tiredness is a feeling you expect after certain activities or at the end of the day. Usually, you know why you are tired and a good night's sleep solves the problem.
Fatigue is a daily lack of energy; an unusual or excessive whole-body tiredness not relieved by sleep. It can be acute (lasting a month or less) or chronic (lasting from one month to six months or longer). Fatigue can prevent you from functioning normally and impacts your quality of life.
CRF is not predictable by treatment, stage of illness or tumor type. Usually, it comes on suddenly, does not result from activity or exertion, and is not relieved by rest or sleep. It is often described as paralyzing. It may continue even after treatment is complete.