Cancer symptoms: Almost everyone with advanced cancer experiences ‘unbearable’ fatigue

The severity of cancer symptoms intensifies as the disease progresses, but many patients ignore them until they become unbearable. Unfortunately, failure to report symptoms early dramatically worsens the prognosis for cancer. Reports indicate that most patients diagnosed at an advanced stage report the same debilitating symptom.

The American Cancer Society explains, “Fatigue is the feeling of being tired and not being able to do things at your usual pace.

“This fatigue can affect you physically, mentally and emotionally.”

Cancer patients with this symptom often describe a continuous feeling of extreme fatigue that improves with rest.

“Almost everyone with advanced cancer has this symptom,” the health body adds.

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When advanced cancer is diagnosed, it is unlikely to be cured or effectively controlled with treatment.

This is because the tumor will have invaded nearby tissues, lymph nodes and other distant parts of the body.

Treatment can always be given with the goal of shrinking the tumor, but sometimes doctors decide that the risks of treatment outweigh the benefits.

It should be noted that people with advanced cancer are more likely to experience fatigue than patients in the early stages of the disease.


The main cause of fatigue in cancer patients is the disruption of the body’s hormone levels, which is often seen in diseases like breast and prostate cancer.

Once there are more cancer cells in the body, fatigue can lead to less eating and less activity.

Cancer Research UK adds: “Some cancers make substances called cytokines.

“Cytokines are a group of proteins in the body that play an important role in boosting the immune system. These can cause fatigue.

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A report published in the medical journal BMC Primary Care characterized the type of fatigue in patients with terminal cancer as an “unbearable weakness”.

The report states that “weakness was the most frequent unbearable symptom”, observed in 57% of patients receiving palliative care.

The Cleveland Clinic describes cancer-related fatigue as “crippling” because it can come on suddenly.

The health body adds: “With this type of fatigue, no amount of sleep or sleeping helps.

“You feel physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted most of the time.”

The American Cancer Society adds that patients often describe fatigue as a feeling of “sluggishness, exhaustion, or exhaustion” that may subside for a while, but then comes back.

Along with weakness, patients frequently report “unbearable pain”, according to the BMC Primary Care report.

Pain in terminally ill patients is often referred to as chronic because it tends to last longer than pain caused by other problems.

In cancer patients, pain often leads to several other complications such as:

  • feeling irritable
  • Restless sleep
  • Decreased appetite
  • Decreased concentration.

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