Every woman going through breast cancer (or any kind of cancer) treatment has reduced energy. The rule of thumb is that it takes at least as long as the duration of treatment (counting from the day of diagnosis to the final chemo or radiation treatment or recovery from a final surgery) to feel fully physically and emotionally recovered. There is obviously a positive curve during these months, and there is a lot of variability in recovery. Most of us feel fine by six or eight or twelve months after finishing treatment. Some of us, however, don't and struggle with persistent fatigue that is a major concern, inconvenience, and negative in quality of life.
This is a report from Science Daily about a recent study about this very long-lasting fatigue. Here is an excerpt and then a link to read more:
Breast Cancer Patients' Persistent Fatigue Is Real, May Actually Speed Up Aging
ScienceDaily (Apr. 7, 2011) — The persistent fatigue that plagues one out of every three breast cancer survivors may be caused by one part of the autonomic nervous system running in overdrive, while the other part fails to slow it down.
That imbalance of a natural system in the body appears linked to the tiredness and exhaustion that can burden cancer patients as much as a decade after their successful treatment.
The effect is so great, researchers say, that it may be a sign of accelerated aging in fatigued patients, causing them to seem as much as 20 years older compared with patients who aren't fatigued.
Those new research findings, just reported in the journalPsychoneuroendocrinology, are the latest from a three-decade-long study of the impact that stress can have on the human body.