By Margot Malin, Founder and President of Lots To Live For, Inc.
It is a well-known fact that chemotherapy patients may experience a number of painful or uncomfortable side effects. Not as well known, however, is that there are quite a few inexpensive nonprescription products readily available which can significantly reduce these unwanted side effects and thereby improve comfort and quality of life. These products (all of them in the blog post) help to bridge the gap between conventional therapy by providing a holistic complementary approach to managing side effects of chemotherapy.
NAUSEA (technically called Chemotherapy Induced Nausea and Vomiting or CINV)
Several simple products can reduce nausea. Biobands, or acupressure wrist bands are simple to use and non-invasive. The adjustable wristband has a small bead built in to it, which when positioned correctly on the underside to the wrist places a gently pressure on the P-6 accupressure point to prevent nausea before it begins. Queasy Drops are lozenges made with essential oils to help reduce nausea and are another natural way to ease a queasy stomach. They also help combat dry mouth. QueaseEase is a drug free all natural, essential oil therapy aromatic inhaler which can be discreetly carried in a purse or briefcase. When an overall sense of queasiness occurs, take a few breaths for an instant feeling of comfort and calm.
Other remedies include ginger, peppermint, teas and essential oils applied to the skin. Oncologists can also prescribe prescription medications to help combat nausea.
DRY MOUTH AND MOUTH SORES
Cancer treatments can cause dry mouth or salivary gland dysfunction and can increase the risk of oral infections. They can also cause very uncomfortable mouth sores. Mouth Kote® eases the discomfort of dry mouth. Mouth Kote® is a new class of oral moisturizer that creates a homogeneous layer in the mouth that has a viscosity and lubricity similar to saliva. Mouth Kote® is a great product because not only does it help to moisturize your mouth, it can also be swallowed and it will also moisturize your throat. OraMagic® Plus Oral Wound Rinse reduces mouth pain and soothes mouth sores. It contains benzocaine to reduce pain. Biotene oral care products include Biotene toothpaste and Biotene Oral Balance Gel which help lubricate a dry, sensitive mouth.
If your mouth is sore: (1) take small bites of food, chew slowly, and sip liquids with your meals and (2) avoid sharp, crunchy foods that could scrape or cut your mouth. It is important to see a dentist before and during treatment.
HAND FOOT SYNDROME (also called palmar plantar erythrodysesthesia) and NEUROPATHY
Hands and feet can become especially dry and uncomfortable from certain chemotherapy treatments. In fact, hands and feet can become so irritated that they can begin to crack and peel. Other symptoms may include swelling, numbing, tingling or redness. It is important to moisturize the area. Lindi Soothing Balm was formulated to treat Hand/Foot Syndrome. This product is a highly emollient treatment for intensely dehydrated areas of the skin. The Lindi Soothing Balm has an abundance of avocado oil, and is especially beneficial to painful, cracked and peeling skin. Atopalm Foot & Heel Balm has a special composition of technical and traditional ingredients that work to leave dry, cracked feet and heels feeling silkier, softer and smoother.
Topricin Pain Relief Cream is specially formulated for injuries and pains. It is patented to help neuropathy pain, a common side effect of cancer treatment. Topricin provides pain relief by improving circulation and attracting and stimulating the body’s healing chemistries at the site of the pain.
HAIR AND SCALP
The use of Thymuskin Hair Care Products, developed in Germany, may help reduce hair loss and stimulate hair regrowth if the hair is thinning, or after the hair has fallen out. The thymic peptides and enzymes in these products combined with the vitamins A, B, E and F normalize the immunologic system and provide important growth factors for the hair follicles and roots.
DRY, CRACKED AND COMPROMISED SKIN
There are many products that can help skin compromised by chemotherapy. We suggest products with natural ingredients and those that do not contain parabens or other harmful chemicals. For example, CV Skinlabs products are a natural and organic collection of luxuriously soothing and clinically proven formulas that nurture and repair skin. The four CV Skinlabs products all address a different skin issue but all work to restore moisture and soothe. My Girls™ Skin Care Cream is a plant-based, calendula cream that also contains rosemary, honey and natural oils. It is helpful for patients who want to maintain the healthy appearance of their skin, avoid delays in treatment and other potential side effects that may affect quality of life.
REASONS FOR OPTIMISM
All of the products highlighted in this blog post help to alleviate some of the difficult side effects caused by chemotherapy. You may find one which improves just the right discomfort and triggers an upward inflection in your quality of life during treatment. Or, perhaps a collection of these products can help you resume a more normal lifestyle while you undergo chemotherapy. Products that reduce side effects make thoughtful and useful gifts for chemotherapy patients. Lots To Live For, Inc. has been delivering comfort to cancer patients for almost 14 years and our products have brightened many lives by helping individuals as they seek to return to their daily routines.
- Comfort During Cancer – Radiation Burn Relief – Lots To Live For Cancer Side Effect Solutions
- Great Chemotherapy Gift Ideas And How To Create Your Own Chemo Goody Bag
- Tips to Control Chemotherapy Nausea and Vomiting (CINV)
- Cancer Pre-Treatment Check List – 6 Tips To Make Your Life Easier Once You Begin Treatments
- 22 Questions to Ask Your Oncology Team About Your Cancer Treatment Protocol
- 7 Tips for Preparing for Chemotherapy and Radiation
- Tips For Oral Health While Undergoing Chemotherapy and Radiation
- Books to Help Cancer Patients: Empower Yourself by Becoming Your Own Medical Advocate
- Practicing Gratitude Can Improve Your Health, Mood and Spirit
- Comfort Slings Help Relieve Soreness and Abrasion Beneath the Breasts
About Margot Malin: Intellectually curious and fiercely independent, Margot Malin has a passion for knowledge. After receiving her MBA from The Wharton School, she launched her career by analyzing and evaluating businesses. In 2002 she embarked on the “creative reinvention” phase of her career with the intention of “giving back”. Margot founded Lots To Live For, Inc., an internet retailer that sells carefully selected products to reduce and relieve the uncomfortable and unpleasant side effects caused by chemotherapy and radiation.