Radiotherapy and Exhaustion

I finished radiotherapy two weeks ago. I have overwhelming exhaustion and anxiety and would love to hear from anyone who suffered similarly. I can barely function and can hardly get out of bed. Help!

Hi, I fifnished radiotherapy (21 sessions) 3 weeks and 3 days ago. I am the same so tired…not sleepy tired…exhausted…no energy. The basics like getting up washing, dressing etc seem such a big thing it takes me hours to force myself out of bed. I was tired during the treatment and although I was told I wouldn’t start to feel less tired for another 2 weeks I kind of didn’t believe them.

My skin was fine, I have a tightness and “discomfort” in my armpit, but nothing too major. Just this feeling of “can’t be bothered”. Even the thought of retail therpay doesn’t push energise me.


Hi thanks for your reply, how are you feeling? I am still completely exhausted, can’t do anything! Getting pissed off! Would love to hear from you.

I was really tired and did very little for the first two weeeks after rads. My Onc told to walk for 30 minutes a day and it doesn’t have to be all at once. You can walk for 5 minutes 6 times a day! I was so tired I thought I couldn’t do it but made myself and it really has helped me.

I expect they told you that the rads carry on working for a couple weeks so you are still effectively in treatment. It does take a while to recover, particularly if you had chemo first - but I think Gwedolyn’s advice is very good. Try to walk a little every day and build up from there.

finty x

I agree with Gwendolyn and Finty, even if you don’t feel you can possibly manage it, try to go for a walk each day, even if it’s only 5 or 10 minutes at first, and extend it gradually over time. Although it seems illogical, it helps a lot with the exhaustion. I built up slowly and ended up going for a brisk 30 or 40 min walk each day after rads treatment and in the weeks afterwards and felt so much better for it.
Sarah x

When does this exhaustion “kick in”. I am now only 2 weeks into rads and must admit am not feeling more than the normal tiredness of going there every day and balancing all the other chores. How long do they say the rads carry on working after treatment? xxx

Hi all,

I was told 10 days after last rads I’m still “microwaving” (so skin care routine to continue ) but then told another 2 weeks before I would feel an improvement re. tiredness. However, also been told from surgery side staff that 6-8 weeks after rads is when they have an idea of what you’ve turned out like…to pardon the phrase.

To be honest I think as we all have found out, everyone’s cancer is so different (although similar too) and I really just think they cover all bases.

My skin was hardly affected and they really read me the riot actat the beginning vis a vis creasm deoderant etc. which looking back now was extreme. The tiredness though…I can’t explain it…they also told me about walking and doing exercise etc…I would if I could…I’m not kidding I sit on the sofa and it’s like my head (brain) is not connected to my body/legs…just getting my act together to get up and put the kettle on or even visit the bathroom is so much effort. I’ve had some social nights out and by 10.0pm I’m ready to leave…not like me.

Now wondering if the Tamoxifen and fluctuating hormones (started that 9th Nov) is more to blame than the rads.

Having said all that I’m fortunate as don’t work and have supportive OH so am still enjoying crappy daytime TV, chocolate and OK magazines! We have a skiing holiday booked for Half-term (Feb 19th…booked before my diagnosis last Oct) so I’ll get my daily short walk quota all in one go I think.


Springblossom - for me it was towards the end - I did 7 weeks of rads and by the end of week 5 I was getting pretty tired. Still managing dog walks though - but noticeable slower. finty x

Hi All

To be honest I never got really tired with rads, probably because I didn’t even attempt to go to work, and I hadn’t had chemo. From what I’ve read on here those who’ve had chemo are so run down by it that rads hit them much harder. The most tiring thing for me was driving there every day, which if you’re not used to commuting, or have to go a long way to the hospital, will be tough enough in itself.

I too was warned that I would carry on cooking after rads had finished, and I found that the heat, tenderness, pinkness etc peaked around 2 or 3 weeks afterwards, although they weren’t bad at all, then gradually calmed down.

Sarah x

thanks for your advice everyone about walking. have tried it and it just exhausts me even more. how long does this go on for? am still trying to walk a bit every day though.

Hi All, but especially Bettina,
I have just got back from skiing, having finished radiotherapy 3 weeks before, and felt totally exhausted, not a great skier anyway, so managed to hurt knee, and feel so upset that I felt tired, and couldn’t go out with everyone else. Just burst into tears, when couldn’t cope, and that makes me feel like crying too. Cried trying to get boots on, cried when I fell over. Cried because I was crying ! Haven’t cried so much since I was a child.
Hope your skiing was better than mine. Put me off for ever now. This is the second time I have done my knee, so suppose that did not help. Should have gone to seaside.
Travelling was completely knackering too, Ten hours travelling is not good.

I have walked everyday through radiotherapy and not felt too bad physically, although brain became unconnected, and did not want to have to think of anything ! The last week was the worse, spent a lot of time in front of the telly, watching quiz shows. But if anyone asked me anything I could not answer it.
Starting back to work next week, starting only 2 mornings first, then 3 mornings the following week. Hopefully my brain will start to work with me, and I will have stopped crying ! Could be the tamoxofin,
I feel as if I have aged 5 years in the last 6 months.
Suzie x

It’s a wierd feeling isn’t it???

I finished rads 3 years ago after chemo and surgery and the tiredness gradually built up and I’m afraid continued a long time afterwards - months rather than weeks, although the chemo and surgery also contributed to this. It can’t be got rid of with a good sleep either and have to put up with a fuddled head.

I was reminded of this recently as I have had to have a one-off rads blast on my spine (I have bone mets). I had forgotten about the exhaustion until about a week afterwards when it hit me. That was 4 weeks ago and I’m still tired, altough I do have bursts of energy and find it helps to go out and get some fresh air. I know it will go in due course and I just have to be patient.

Not much help but it will go !


I start rads on Monday having finished Fec T 3 weeks ago. I am also on herceptin and tamoxifen. I walk every day and apart from a few days on chemo when felt terrible dragged myself and 2 dogs out every day. I do about 2-5 miles depending on weather and it is really beneficial. I have lost a good degree of my fitness and put on a stone…which I now intend to lose and weight makes it harder to exercise…but exercise helps remove the weight!
Exercise also releases endorphins that have an anti depressive effect and make you feel better…
Get walking girls…I intend to keep walking and start cycling again and 2 fingers to tiredness…

Hi all

Finished rads a week ago and must admit my energy level hasnt changed. Also have no side effects from Tamox (two months in). When I was having rads I took an energy drink (Lucozade) with me to drink after, eat loads of fresh veg and had a huge smoothie every day not to mention multi vits. Eat well, early nights and so far seems to have paid off. Mustnt talk too soon as am only a week down the road. I didnt have chemo so this may have made a big difference. I do have an 11 year old to bring up (Im a nan). A single nan. So am on the go all the time. We are all different and react to things differently. My skin is very tanned but no discomfort anymore. xxxx