When we take a look at public communities like Patientslikeme, it shows that one of the most common symptoms of a skin cancer diagnosis, is fatigue. Skin cancer fatigue is therefore something that a large group of people have to deal with every day. So what can you do?
We sat down with board certified dermatologist Jennifer Hayley to discuss this, and come up with possible treatment options.
“I’m seeing a lot of young people with a skin cancer diagnosis. They have to overcome a drop in energy levels which can be hard to deal with. With melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, this is even worse. When found early, melanoma can be treated – but the fatigue associated with it will be tough.
Start by taking a walk
“The first thing that I advice to people that are dealing with this, is to take a nice walk outside in the morning. Waking up with some fresh air and exercise will drive up the energy levels in the body. People will feel better throughout the day. It also contributes to how well the biorhythm is working.
When the sun is out, it will also give them a nice boost of vitamin D – which we need to feel healthy. Of course, I urge them to wear a hat and apply sunscreen before going out.”
Dr Haley advices this because the UV exposure from the sun is the most common cause of skin cancer. So this tip does not only apply to people that are being treated for skin cancer, but also for people that are healthy. Make sure to be aware of the risks of the sun so you can enjoy it, without taking a risk.
Building energy levels
“Energy is the key”, Hayley continues. “So after the morning-walk, it’s important to provide nutrients to the body during the day as well. Vegetables are on top of my list. I always use something I call the ‘spectrum of nutrients’, which means that you want to eat vegetables with all the colors of the rainbow. Get all these colors in your diet!
“In general, healthy food will make you feel better. And try to stay away from processed foods; get your ingredients fresh and cook them yourself.
“Another important nutrient to get enough of, are antioxidants. There are a several fruits for example that have a lot of antioxidants.”
Live as normal as possible
Although it may be hard when dealing with a skin cancer diagnosis, Dr Hayley advices to try and live as normal as possible.
“That also means that you don’t have to be in the hospital all the time. Personally, I try to pace hospital visits for these people. When they have to come and see me all the time, they feel even sicker. Monitoring remotely is a nice way to keep up to date with the patient, without them having to come in all the time.”
Are you dealing with skin cancer and have additional tips for other readers? Feel free to add them to the comments.