By Margot Malin, CEO and Founder of Lots To Live For, Inc.
Starting either chemotherapy or radiation oncology treatment can feel overwhelming. There are logistics and arrangements to consider, medical research and treatment options to review, as well as getting through daily tasks. Patients often forget to explore how they can reduce cancer treatment side effects. Reducing unpleasant and uncomfortable side effects is important because the more comfortable you feel during treatment, the more likely you will be to continue through treatments uninterrupted, and the better your overall frame of mind will be. We will give you an overview of some simple ways you can combat the side effects of cancer treatment.
Lots to Live For, Inc. offers a variety of products to help you reduce and relieve side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. Many of the products have been developed by cancer survivors and thrivers who saw an unmet need when they went through treatment and decided to “pay it forward” by developing a solution. Many of these products are manufactured by small, innovative and entrepreneurial companies without a “national marketing machine” so they may not have recognizable brand names.
Radiation Skin Care
Radiation can cause many different skin reactions – including but not limited to dryness, redness, tenderness, burns, radiation reaction and radiation dermatitis. Some lotions and creams can be very effective at reducing these side effects. Highly effective brands include RADX radiation therapy, My Girls Skin Care (all natural) and 7 Cream (homeopathic). Gel sheets and pads such as CoolMagic hydro gel sheets or the Lind Skin Cooler Roll can be cooling and soothing, and can be applied directly, or over a radiation cream, providing intense relief. Explore products to help heal and soothe radiation burns at Lots To Live For, Inc.
It is a good idea to have your teeth cleaned, or other dental work performed before starting chemotherapy or radiation to your chest and neck area. Many medications will affect your mouth. Use a gentle toothpaste, such as Biotene, and keep your mouth fresh and lubricated with gentle products such as Biotene or MouthKote. Oral Balance can help to soothe mouth sores and enhance hydration.
Many chemotherapy medications can cause hair to fall out, and they can also make the scalp feel itchy and tingly. Explore the newly introduced Penguin Cold Cap to help hair retention during chemotherapy treatment. Thymuskin hair care topical products can help reduce hair loss and accelerate hair regrowth. Alra shampoo and DermaQOL hair products can help ease an itchy scalp.
Ginger is a natural product that can help nausea. Biobands are acupressure wristbands that can also help. Try Queasy Pops and Queasy Drops for added comfort.
All of the products mentioned also make excellent gifts for cancer patients. If you are a friend, relative, caregiver, or co-worker consider a “gift of comfort” as an expression of your concern and support. Click here to find a collection of cancer gifts.
Beyond personal care products that can help maintain comfort during cancer treatment we also share additional lifestyle suggestions.
There is a wealth of information dedicated to healthy eating during cancer treatment. One suggestion is: The American Cancer Society Complete Guide To Nutrition for Cancer Survivors. There are many articles about superfoods, and the importance of reducing sugar in the diet. Remember to stay well hydrated! We suggest searching the internet for additional information. The Anti-Cancer Club provides additional suggestions about nutrition.
Research is increasingly proving that gentle exercise has many benefits. Physical activity can decrease depression and anxiety. Additional benefits from exercise may include the reduction of stress, increased confidence and reinforcement of other positive health habits. Exercise can also help the patient gain endurance, increase energy level and decrease fatigue, which may be caused by treatments. Studies have recently shown that exercise may in fact help prevent reoccurrence.
Items to Take to Treatment
Taking these items to treatment with you can help pass the time and keep you warm and comfortable. Find a cheery and colorful bag to carry: a pen and pad so you can jot down medical questions, a journal if you like to write, an ipod or tablet computer, warm booties, a blanket, a meditation or breathing CD or phone app, a book, warm booties, Queasy Drops to keep your mouth hydrated and water or green tea for additional hydration. Remember to ask your oncology nurse whether these items can be used during your specific therapy. Remember to dress comfortably too!
This article has offered tips to enhance your comfort during cancer treatment. If you find it helpful, please share it with others traveling a parallel journey.
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