Exercise Can Help Ease Excessive Fatigue in Survivors of Cancer


Exercise can help prevent excess fatigue for survivors of cancer and other issues are explored in this summer issue of CURE.

Fatigue continues to be one of the biggest challenges for survivors of cancer, particularly because its severity can have a lasting effect on lifestyle.

Unlike tiredness from a hard day at work or a vigorous workout, cancer fatigue can be unrelated to a person’s activities yet all encompassing. The phenomenon can be difficult for those who have never had cancer to understand.

“(Friends) really do not get it when I need to go home and climb into bed immediately or am unable to take one more step or have to cancel an engagement,” Jane Biehl, a CURE® Voices contributor, wrote in a May 15 blog. “Before cancer, willpower carried me through fatigue, but no more. That weight all over my body frankly kicks my butt.”

In this issue of CURE®, we take an in-depth look at cancer fatigue, its causes and a variety of treatment options. Perhaps counterintuitively, experts point out that the most effective therapy for this condition is exercise, a remedy that could seem daunting. Research consistently supports this idea, and our article describes the kinds of programs that work best.

In another feature, we tackle the topic of radiopharmaceuticals, radioactive drugs with an expanding role in both treatment and diagnosis. The expectation is that more of these drugs will be discovered over the next decade, and additional uses will be found for those already on the market. Our article discusses the fascinating area called theranostics or using the same radiopharmaceutical to both diagnose and treat a specific cancer.

Elsewhere in the treatment arena, we bring highlights from June’s annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, including findings in colorectal, bladder, ovarian and non-small cell lung cancers. This issue also covers investigational treatments for chronic lymphocytic leukemia and kidney cancer.

At the other end of the spectrum, we look at the time before cancer develops and how people can protect themselves. With the help of a Northwestern University expert in epidemiology and cancer prevention, we examine recommended strategies for avoiding the disease. A separate piece explores whether those who had genetic testing years ago should repeat the process using today’s more sophisticated tests to get a more comprehensive picture of whether they have any inherited cancer-causing genes.

Finally, we come full circle with another article on easing a side effect, in this case hair loss during chemotherapy. In an interview, an oncology expert answers our questions about the safety, effectiveness and availability of cold caps.

We hope that these articles, which span the cancer journey from prevention to survivorship, leave you better informed about strategies that can help you lead a healthier and more comfortable life. As always, thank you for reading.