Living with cancer

Fatigue, exercise and rest


Cancer and its treatments can make people feel tired and unwell. Your medical team may arrange for you to see a physiotherapist to advise on exercise specific to your needs. For others, gentle exercise helps your keep the body supple and can boost morale.

Tiredness (fatigue)

Feeling tired is a common side effect of cancer or cancer treatments. Tiredness can sometimes be hard to deal with but try to rest your body as much as possible. It may be possible to plan your daily activities to allow time for a rest during the day. It can also help if you can think ahead and find ways of managing situations, for example, being prepared for a flight of stairs or avoiding places that are busy. Talking this through with a nurse or with a support group may help.


Relaxation can be helpful for reducing anxiety, pain and nausea (feeling sick). There are many relaxation techniques, including visualisation, progressive muscle relaxation, music therapy, massage and therapeutic touch. There are some cases where massage is not recommended so check with your doctor or nurse first. Relaxation tapes are now widely available and can be helpful.