Fatigue affects over 50% to 90% of cancer survivors, both during and after treatment.12 Fatigue may also continue well after treatment has ended in about 30% of cancer survivors.1 Cancer-related fatigue is a feeling of tiredness that does not go away with rest. It is different from fatigue experienced before cancer. Cancer-related fatigue can be an obstacle to usual daily routines. The exact cause is not well understood, but many factors are known to contribute to cancer-related fatigue. These include cancer itself, treatments and their side effects, anemia, deconditioning, malnutrition, metabolic abnormalities, hypothyroidism, anxiety and depression. Fatigue may extend beyond the physical experience to include mental fatigue.
Research shows that cancer survivors may experience challenges in returning to work, especially if their jobs entail physically demanding tasks. With safety-sensitive jobs (such as machine operation) fatigue needs to be monitored and addressed to prevent accidents or injury. Survivors may need more rest breaks on the job or work shorter shifts until fatigue is resolved.