Cancer treatment side effect: Fatigue

If you’re always feeling physically, mentally or emotionally exhausted, you’re not alone. Fatigue is the most common side effect experienced by patients during and after cancer treatment. And, because there’s no way to test for cancer-related fatigue, it tends to be underdiagnosed. The good news is that it’s possible to alleviate cancer-related fatigue. By recognizing the signs and symptoms of fatigue, you can empower yourself to discuss this side effect with your care team and get help. Here’s what you should know about cancer fatigue, according to our clinical nurse Kim Kitchen. Cancer-related fatigue is different from the fatigue experienced by healthy people When healthy people are fatigued from their daily activities, extra rest typically helps. But that’s not always the case for cancer patients. That’s because fatigue can be caused by many cancer treatments, as well as the cancer itself and even other side effects. And that means cancer-related fatigue can last for long periods – and that cancer patients may get tired more easily and by exerting less energy than fatigued healthy individuals. Cancer and cancer treatment put you at risk for fatigue Part of the reason fatigue is so common among cancer patients is because it can be caused by so many different aspects of the cancer experience. This includes: Cancer treatment, including chemotherapy, hormone therapy, radiation therapy, surgery and even recovery from surgery. Anemia, a common side effect of chemotherapy Loss of appetite, which may be caused by nausea and vomiting and can keep you from getting enough nutrients, such as vitamin B12, folic acid, iron and protein Medications, such as those prescribed for depression,...

Breast cancer survivor finds comfort in quilting community

Michelle Hines has never had ovarian cancer. But that didn’t stop the Maryland transplant from making a quilt that directly supports MD Anderson’s ovarian cancer research. The quilt she made especially for the Ovarian Cancer Quilt Project will go up for auction later this year. Its colorful design was inspired by the logo created for MD Anderson’s 75th anniversary last fall. Proceeds from the sale of Michelle’s quilt and dozens of others will benefit the Blanton-Davis Ovarian Cancer Research Program at MD Anderson. “I first saw the pattern on the wall of the Mays Clinic in July 2016,” Michelle says. “I never would have thought to put those colors together, but I just thought it was so cool. The minute I walked into the hospital, I knew I had to make that design into a quilt.” Heart: what makes MD Anderson special Through Instagram, Michelle found and reached out to Gini Reed, the MD Anderson graphic designer who created the logo. She was delighted when the designer agreed to share the layout. “Gini’s not a quilter, and I know it’s part of her job to understand color and shading and places to rest your eyes, but she still did an incredible job designing it,” Michelle says. It took Michelle about a month to finish the quilt, and she’s excited about it being in the auction this fall. “My quilt matches the 75th anniversary logo almost perfectly,” Michelle says. “I just added some color around a section that kind of looks like a heart to make it stand out more, because heart is such a big part of what makes...