Hydrogel Sheets and Cooler Rolls for Radiation Burn Care and Comfort

By Margot Malin, Founder and CEO, Lots To Live For, Inc.

There are a number of products to help heal and soothe radiation burns. Most people are acquainted with ointments, lotions and sprays. Flying under the radar are another set of items in the tool box: hydrogel sheets and cooler rolls. We will educate you about these products in this post.

Gel sheets are a handy and noninvasive product that can be used for radiation burn care. They help to soothe and calm radiation burns. Some of our customers tell us they provide incredible relief from pain and itching and that allows them to continue with daily chores and especially to sleep at night! The great thing about gel sheets is that they can be left on for long periods of time (for some people, up to 3 days though most people change them more frequently) and they provide continuous relief. They can also be used in conjunction with lotions and sprays.

Two different types of hydrogel products are CoolMagic Gel Sheets and Lindiskin Cooler Rolls.

CoolMagic Hydrogel Sheets come in 2 sizes: 3.75 inches x 3.75 inches OR 6 inches x 8 inches (10 per box) and they can be trimmed to the appropriate size.

  • This light-weight, see-through polymer sheet provides instant cooling to burns, abrasions, skin tears, radiation reactions and sensitive wounds, effectively reducing pain.
  • The sterile hydrogel polymer sheet consists of 90% water, 10% inactive crosslinked polyethylene oxide matrix, and it transfers heat away from the wound, providing a cooling effect.
  • Cooling action relieves pain of burning, itching, or sore skin
  • Can be refrigerated for greater cooling capacity
  • Allows oxygen flow while preventing bacteria or foreign material from entering wound.

CoolMagic is mentioned enthusiastically in several cancer blogs by cancer patients who have used these dressings and received relief. (ie. cancercompass.com)

Suggestions for use of CoolMagic gel sheets:

  1. Apply over wound for a cool, soothing effect.
  2. Change the dressing every 24 to 36 hours. They should be discarded after use.
  3. Hold in place with tape or stretch gauze (you may or may not need tape or gauze).

CoolMagic gel sheets receive rave customer reviews. Here are 2 sample reviews from customers:
perfect wound dressing for radiation burns 5 Star Review (2/2015)

“I only wish we had found this website and this product earlier in my father’s skin cancer journey. The large burned area was very difficult to protect and even soft cotton handkerchiefs stuck to the wound or creams. The 6×8 hydrogel dressing is easy to apply and comes away easily without sticking to the wound. Dad finds relief the minute this dressing is applied. I wish I had known about this when treating pressure sores some months ago. This will be a vital part of my first aid kit from now on.”

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent product, expensive, but well worth it. (8/2016)

“Recovering from radiation burns I was so fortunate to have found these pads available online.”

DO NOT USE CoolMagic FOR: Full Thickness Wounds, Infected Wounds or 3rd Degree Burns.

Another option is the LindiSkin Cooler Roll, which are more economical.

LindiSkin Coolers provide intense relief to areas that are burned or dehydrated. They are designed to soothe compromised skin with the natural cooling and moisturizing effects of water and aloe vera in gentle non-adhesive dressings designed to be applied after radiation therapy.

Skin Coolers are especially effective on hyper-sensitive, compromised skin. They can be used on radiation dermatitis, sunburn, “hot flashes”, or itchy, dry skin. During radiation therapy, skin should always be washed and free of any product. Skin Coolers should be used after each treatment.

To relieve areas that are burned or dehydrated, look to the immediate cooling comfort and intense hydration of the LindiSkin Cooler Roll. The natural properties of water and aloe vera combine to help soothe any compromised area and promote a moist, healing environment for healthy skin. Leave on area for 20-45 minutes. LindiSkin Cooler Roll is designed to be custom cut for your needs and conform to the size and shape of the wound. Simply cut, apply to skin and then discard after one-time use.

The size of the LindiSkin Cooler Roll is – 1 roll (4 in x 60 in)

Both products can be refrigerated before use, but they don’t have to be. They will naturally adhere to the skin, and peel off easily when you want to remove them. Neither product is suggested for use on broken skin.

Additional creams. lotions and sprays which are very popular and can be used in conjunction with gel sheets include: RADX Radiation Therapy Cream (contains 2% lidocaine for pain relief), MPM Regenecare Gel or Spray (also contains lidocaine), CV Skinlabs Rescue & Relief Spray (no lidocaine) or My Girls Cream (no lidocaine).

Lots To Live For, Inc. was created with the belief that everyone should be as comfortable as possible during cancer treatment. We offer you the tools to provide relief and enhance your comfort. “Patients are naturally more satisfied when they are empowered through knowledge,” says Rodney Ganey. We hope the information about, and the knowledge and use of these products during treatment will help to satisfy and empower you during your treatment.

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Nurture Your Armpits – Especially When You Are Undergoing Cancer Treatment

Choosing Deodorant For Cancer PatientsBy Margot Malin, Founder and CEO of Lots To Live For, Inc.

What you put on your body matters – especially when you are undergoing cancer treatment. Oncology patients often have unique needs when it comes to personal care products for the skin, hair and body. Many people don’t read the labels on personal care products, and even if they do, they are hard to decipher because many items on the ingredient list have unrecognizable chemical names. While general skin care is an important topic, this article focuses specifically on underarm care.

Unhealthy Ingredients in Mass Market Deodorants
What you put on your skin matters. Your skin is your body’s largest organ. It absorbs the materials that you put on it, they circulate inside your body, and can reach internal organs. For more information refer to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and WebMD. The following disturbing facts about chemicals found in most mass market deodorants may influence your decision about the deodorant you use and encourage you to read ingredient labels:

  • Aluminum – clogs and blocks pores and can cause other issues. Important for cancer patients: aluminum can interfere with radiation therapy.
  • Phtalates – work as softeners in personal care products, and plastics. They are known to disrupt the bodies hormones. They are considered to be endocrine disruptors because of their complex effects on several hormonal systems including the estrogen and androgen hormone systems.
  • Propylene glycol – is used in personal care products, and also antifreeze. It is known as an endocrine disruptor. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) there is a benign risk of catching certain allergies and some toxic materials for the immune system
  • Formaldehyde – a commonly used chemical compound that exists in various forms and at room temperature, is a colorless, distinctive, strong and even pungent smelling, flammable and gaseous substance. It is certainly a questionable ingredient for personal care products
  • Parabens – they are used as preservatives, and studies show the may damage hormones and negatively impact the immune system.

According to a 2012 Huffington Post article: “What we put on our skin is just as important as what we put in our body; both affect the well-being of our entire body (skin included!). The next time you slather on that chemical laden lotion or soak in a toxic tub, remember that your skin absorbs a large percentage of what you put on it.”

We would like to introduce you to a new product for controlling odor and sweat under your arms: PiperWai All Natural Deodorant. PiperWi Deodorant For Cancer Patients
Why PiperWai?
As the first creme deodorant that contains super-absorbent activated charcoal, PiperWai rubs in clear and won’t discolor your clothes. You apply it with your fingers – this deodorant’s skin-conditioning qualities also make it great for your hands.

No Parabens, No Harsh Ingredients. And, especially important for individuals undergoing radiation therapy to the breast or other areas of the body: NO ALUMINUM

It Absorbs Moisture
Natural deodorant generally gets a bad reputation for letting you sweat, even if it neutralizes odor at the same time. However, the ingredients in PiperWai – like activated charcoal, which can absorb 1,000x its own weight in moisture – form an invisible absorbent shield between your skin and your shirt, and protect it from wet stains. It does not plug up your apocrine sweat glands the way an antiperspirant does!

It’s Gentle On Sensitive Skin
Crafted with skin-conditioning ingredients like organic coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, and pure vitamin E oil, PiperWai is great for people with sensitive skin. It’s perfect for individuals with chemical sensitivities, or skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema. PiperWai is particularly helpful for individuals with skin compromised by chemotherapy and/or radiation.

It Smells Fresh
A proprietary blend of 11 therapeutic-grade essential oils gives PiperWai its signature gender-neutral fresh scent. And, in addition to smelling great, these essential oils are believed to have specific anti-microbial properties that work with the other ingredients to keep you smelling fresh.

Customers Love PiperWai
PiperWai, founded by two female entrepreneurs, was recently featured on Shark Tank® and was the third fastest product that aired on the show to reach $1 million in sales. Customer reviews, as seen on the PiperWai Facebook page are fantastic.

Are you convinced yet? Do your body a favor – protect your underarms from sweat and odor naturally with PiperWai Natural Deodorant. Click HERE to purchase your first jar of PiperWai!

Featured Photo Source: NourishMyDirt

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About Margot Malin: Intellectually cMargot Malinurious 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.

Practicing Gratitude Can Improve Your Health, Mood and Spirit

Practicing Gratitude Can Improve Your Health, Mood and Spirit For Breast CancerBy Margot Malin, Founder and CEO of Lots To Live For, Inc.

Contemplate: What makes you thankful?
Focus on what you have by recording at least one positive thing in your life each day. Scientific research is increasingly demonstrating that practicing gratitude daily can cultivate noticeable ongoing mental and physical benefits.

A patient faced with a difficult health diagnosis frequently feels overwhelmed and anxious. She might feel as if she stepped into a foggy quagmire. One way she can begin to see a beam of light to help guide her out of this fog is to turn to the techniques introduced in positive psychology.

In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity better, and build stronger relationships. “The aim of Positive Psychology is to catalyze a change in psychology from a preoccupation only with repairing the worst things in life to also building the best qualities in life” writes Dr. Martin Seligman (often referred to as the pioneer of positive psychology).

Below are some simple ways to cultivate gratitude:

  1. Keep a gratitude journal
    Write down one to three things that you are thankful for each day. On the Lots To Live For, Inc. website we sell a Gratitude Note Pad to help you to conveniently and consistently record your thoughts. This Gratitude Note Pad is easily carried in a purse or portfolio.
    Hints: Avoid fixating on material items and do not dwell on things that you do not have. Spiritually refocus on what you do have.
  2. Meditate
    Practicing mindful meditation can help you focus on the present moment without judgment.
  3. Breathe
    Mindful breathing can help relax you and cultivate gratitude. We recommend the Breast Cancer Yoga CD Breathe With Purpose to get you started.
  4. Write a thank you note
    Studies have shown that the simple act of writing a sincere note of thanks to someone from our past or present can help us cultivate gratitude. Even better, share the note or send the letter to the person you are acknowledging.
  5. Pray (if religious)
  6. Practice Yoga
    Use your yoga practice as a moving meditation. Be present while on your mat and set an intention to reflect on the things that you are thankful for.
  7. Repeat an affirmation
    Affirmations are simple: you being in conscious control of your thoughts. They are short, powerful statements. When you say them, think them, or even hear them, they become the thoughts that create your reality.
    Here are examples of powerful affirmations: I am strong, I am healthy, I am grateful, I am thankful, I am evolving
  8. Show appreciation to people you interact with on a casual basis
    This can include co-workers, your bus driver, a hospitality worker, or a friendly soul with whom you have an incidental interaction as you go about your day.

In 2003 Dr. Emmons and Dr. McCullough reported the results of an important study on gratitude and well-being which separated individuals randomly into four groups who were asked to carry out different tasks. The results of the study found that those participants randomly assigned to the group who were instructed to write about things they were grateful for on a daily basis became the happiest and most optimistic when compared to 3 other groups performing different tasks. (References and link to article at the end of this post). Other studies have shown that additional benefits of practicing gratitude can include improved mental and physical health, enhanced relationships, higher self-esteem, and overall satisfaction with life.

Typically it only takes two minutes to record thoughts of gratitude. Just two minutes a day can change your outlook on the world. Focusing on the things you are thankful for can provide a beacon of light to help you climb out of the fog created by uncertainty and anxiety.

The simple act of acknowledging the things we are grateful for can help enhance our health, mood, and spirit. Why not start today?

References and additional information:

Buy the Cancer Gift of Optimism: To help a cancer patient regain optimism and a sense of control. This gift includes two simple items to help cultivate gratitude.

Positive Psychology, Positive Prevention, and Positive Therapy, Martin E. P. Seligman, University of Pennsylvania.

Emmons RA, et al. “Counting Blessings Versus Burdens: An experimental investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well Being in Daily Life,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Feb. 2003): Vol. 84, No. 2, pp 377-89.

Sansone RA, et al. “Gratitude and Well Being: The Benefits of Appreciation,” Psychiatry (Nov. 2010): Vol.7, No. 11, pp. 18 -22.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, Mindfulness Meditation.

Related Article:

About Margot Malin: Intellectually cMargot Malinurious 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.

Comfort Slings Help Relieve Soreness and Abrasion Beneath the Breasts

Breast Cancer Sling For Radiation TherapyBy Margot Malin, Founder of Lots To Live For, Inc.
Patients who are undergoing radiation therapy on the underside of their breasts may develop radiation dermatitis, painful sores, and even weepy lesions in the skin folds beneath their breasts. The inflammation can be worsened by excessive perspiration and the chafing resulting from skin-to-skin contact. Once these side effects occur the patient experiences significant discomfort. They tend to heal very slowly.

We’d like to introduce you to a new product called the Breast Comfort Sling which can help improve comfort and prevent the continuing abrasion or fold over effect. The BreastComfort Sling allows the breast to rest on a soft cushion giving freer air circulation while wicking away perspiration to keep the sore area dry. The straps are adjustable so there is no pressure on the neck or shoulder, or on the sore areas beneath the breast. The cushion provides a comfort barrier between the breast and the skin beneath it to prevent excessive chafing, and the antimicrobial material discourages bacteria growth.Breast Cancer Comfort Sling on Breast Cancer Authority BlogThe most effective way for women who are receiving radiation therapy to the underside of the breast to minimize excessive side effects to the skin is to begin wearing the BreastComfort Single Sling from the beginning of treatment. However, the wearing the sling can be initiated at any time during treatment, or even after treatment to reduce lingering radiation dermatitis or other skin discomfort. Wearing the sling as many hours as possible throughout the day, especially when sleeping, is most effective.

The BreastComfort Sling is designed to be worn without a bra. Therefore, if patients want to wear a bra during the day, perhaps at work or when “out and about”, the BreastComfort Strapless Cushioned Bra Inserts are recommended. The pad (bra insert), with no straps, is tucked underneath the breast, inside the bra cup, offering both comfort to sore breasts throughout the day, and further protection from rubbing against the bra and underwires. Wearing a bra with a band beneath the underwire is preferable to prevent the cushion from slipping out of place. (Some women may find it necessary to purchase a larger bra or cup size when wearing the BreastComfort Strapless Cushioned Bra Inserts).

The fabric for the BreastComfort Slings and Pads was specially selected because it is very soft and has both wicking and antimicrobial qualities. The straps are soft enough to be comfortable yet firm enough to hold their shape when worn across the shoulders. The slings stay in place, yet they are loose enough to avoid pressure and constriction across the neck and under the breast.

BreastComfort Slings and Pads were developed by Elizabeth Silver during her radiation oncology treatment and they proved so effective that her radiologist and oncologist were amazed at the excellent condition of her skin during her treatment. In fact, it was they who recommended that she begin to market the slings so that more women could benefit from the relief they provided.

To learn more about the BreastComfort Sling, and BreastComfort Cushioned Bra Insert Pads click HERE.

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About Margot Malin: Intellectually cMargot Malinurious 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.

Products to Reduce Chemotherapy Side Effects and Improve Comfort and Quality of Life

Products to Reduce Chemotherapy Side Effects and Improve Comfort and Quality of LifeBy 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.Chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting natural products

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.

Chemotherapy Hand & Foot Neuropathy Productds

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.

Related Article:

About Margot Malin: Intellectually cMargot Malinurious 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.

Books to Help Cancer Patients: Empower Yourself by Becoming Your Own Medical Advocate

Books To Help Cancer PatientsBy Margot Malin, CEO and Founder of Lots To Live For, Inc.

When faced with a cancer diagnosis it is important to become an educated patient. Learn what your options are, and help participate in your treatment decision making. Taking control can give you more confidence and make the process less scary. You are your own best medical advocate. In this blog piece we list several books that have been highly recommended by both cancer coaches and cancer patients.

Radical Remission- Surviving Cancer Against All OddsRadical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds by Dr. Kelly Turner
In her New York Times bestseller, Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds,  Dr. Kelly A. Turner, founder of the Radical Remission Project, uncovers nine factors that can lead to a spontaneous remission from cancer—even after conventional medicine has failed.

While getting her Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkley, Dr. Turner, a researcher, lecturer, and counselor in integrative oncology, was shocked to discover that no one was studying episodes of radical (or unexpected) remission—when people recover against all odds without the help of conventional medicine, or after conventional medicine has failed.  She was so fascinated by this kind of remission that she embarked on a ten month trip around the world, traveling to ten different countries to interview fifty holistic healers and twenty radical remission cancer survivors about their healing practices and techniques. Her research continued by interviewing over 100 Radical Remission survivors and studying over 1000 of these cases.  Her evidence presents nine common themes that she believes may help even terminal patients turn their lives around.

Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds has been highly recommended by numerous integrative medicine practitioners, cancer patients, cancer coaches  on blogs and on Linkedin posts. Click HERE for more information.

Cancer 50 Essential Things to Do 2013-Edition-195x300Cancer: 50 Essential Things to Do by Greg Anderson
Revised and updated for the first time since 1999, this invaluable guide to cancer recovery offers an easily accessible plan for patients and family members. Written by a cancer survivor, the book is an inspiring, action-oriented roadmap for those who choose to adopt a stance of hope and take charge of their diagnosis.

With penetrating insights that bring together more than two decades of scientifically supported research and experience, Anderson reveals a step-by-step holistic action plan that has been successfully employed by hundreds of thousands of cancer patients worldwide. Anderson’s message is: “You must not simply treat illness, you must also create wellness: physically, emotionally and spiritually.”  Click HERE for more information.

Own Your CancerOwn Your Cancer: A Take Charge Guide For The Recently Diagnosed And Those Who Love Them, by Dr. Peter Edelstein

A must have book for taking charge of the medical aspects of treatment. Dr. Peter Edelstein has learned by listening to his patients and their families–whose lives have suddenly been up-ended by a diagnosis of cancer–that they need a partner to help them navigate their new, complex world. It is critical that cancer patients take charge of their health and “own their cancer” in order to remain in control of this confusing and frightening process. This extremely accessible book is that expert partner, offering a combination of crucial medical education clearly and comfortably explained along with personal guidance gleaned from real patient experiences. In an informed, compassionate, and respectful manner, “Dr. E” translates the challenging medical and psychological issues facing the cancer patient into lay terms, as well as outlining options for “owning” the path ahead. The result empowers patients and their loved ones to take control of their treatment regardless of cancer type or stage, to maintain their independence, and to oversee the processes which will determine their ultimate survival and quality of life. Click HERE for more information.

Life Over Cancer- The Block Center Program for Integrative Cancer TreatmentLife Over Cancer: The Block Center Program for Integrative Cancer Treatment, by Dr. Keith Block

Dr. Keith Block is at the global vanguard of innovative cancer care. As medical director of the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment in Evanston, Illinois, he has treated thousands of patients who have lived long, full lives beyond their original prognoses. Now he has distilled almost thirty years of experience into the first book that gives patients a systematic, research-based plan for developing the physical and emotional vitality they need to meet the demands of treatment and recovery.

Based on a profound understanding of how body and mind can work together to defeat disease, this groundbreaking book offers:

  • Innovative approaches to conventional treatments, such as “chronotherapy”–chemotherapy timed to patients’ unique circadian rhythms for enhanced effectiveness and reduced toxicity
  • Dietary choices that make the biochemical environment hostile to cancer growth and recurrence, and strengthen the immune system’s ability to attack remaining cancer cells
  • Precise supplement protocols to tame treatment side effects, relieve disease-related symptoms, and modify processes like inflammation and glycemia that can fuel cancer if left untreated
  • A new paradigm for exercise and stress reduction that restores your strength, reduces anxiety and depression, and supports the body’s own ability to heal
  • 
A complete program for remission maintenance–a proactive plan to make sure the cancer never returns

Also included are “quick-start” maps to help you find the information you need right now and many case histories that will support and inspire you. Encouraging, compassionate, and authoritative,  Life over Cancer is the guide patients everywhere have been waiting for.

What You Dont Know Can Kill YouWhat You Don’t Know Can Kill You: A Physician’s Radical Guide to Conquering the Obstacles to Excellent Medical Care, by Dr. Laura Nathanson

In 2003, Dr. Laura Nathanson was widowed after the misdiagnosis of her beloved husband. After this tragedy, she was determined to help others protect themselves and their loved ones from similarly preventable health care disasters—and help them benefit from health care miracles. In What You Don’t Know Can Kill You, Dr. Nathanson provides a guide to getting the best medical care and navigating our frustrating and often impenetrable health care system. In clear, non-medical language, she shows how to:

  • Flag any signs of misdiagnosis and misleading analysis of symptoms
  • Prevent miscommunication among specialists from having dire consequences
  • Stay safe in the hospital and bypass its dangers
  • Choose a health care plan without falling into the “uncovered services” trap

Full of empathy for each individual patient and caregiver, What You Don’t Know Can Kill You will empower patients to be their own best advocates.

We believe that the best informed patients make the best patients. Cancer Coaches and Oncology Nurse Navigators can help to further educate cancer patients. To read more about what a cancer coach does, click HERE. To read about Oncology Nurse Navigators, click HERE. As our friend Elyn Jacobs, Cancer Coach likes to say “If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any”.

We hope that these books will help educate you, and encourage you to take control and be proactive on your cancer journey.

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Margot MalinPlease visit Cancer Blog!: Tools Tips and Info to Help You Navigate Your Cancer Journey by Margot Malin to find more helpful treatment tips and more helpful books. Please visit Lots To Live For, Inc. to learn about products to reduce and relive the unpleasant and uncomfortable side effects of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and cancer surgery.

22 Questions to Ask Your Oncology Team About Your Cancer Treatment Protocol

Questions to Ask Your Oncology Team From Breast Cancer Authority Contributor Margot Malin BlogBy Margot Malin, CEO of Lots To Live For, Inc.

Patients who are well informed and take a proactive role in making choices about their cancer treatment protocol are likely to be more comfortable as they progress through treatment. Knowledge is empowering and knowing what to expect and what comes next demystifies the process.

Be your own health advocate by asking questions to become informed and “buy in” to your treatment protocol. It is a good idea to bring a friend or relative with you to medical appointments both for emotional support, and also because a second set of “eyes and ears” might understand what is being said differently, they may think of a whole different set of questions, or might interpret ambiguous or confusing information in a different way. Take notes so you can remember what was discussed. After all, going to a doctor can be both emotional and terrifying.

Here are 22 questions to ask your oncology team about your cancer treatment protocol:

  1. What is the goal of chemotherapy and/or radiation for my cancer?
  2. Why are you recommending chemotherapy / radiation? If you had cancer would you treat yourself with this protocol? How long have you been prescribing this treatment and how many patients have received it?
  3. What is the treatment period for the radiation regimen that you are proposing?
    What is the likelihood that it might be interrupted due to adverse skin reactions?
  4. Which specific chemotherapy drugs will I be given? What are your expectations for this medication? Are there other options that can produce the same or similar results?
  5. If you are proposing more than one chemotherapy drug, what is the reason for selecting the specific “cocktail” that you recommend?
  6. What has the success rate been? Do you expect that the tumor will disappear completely, or just shrink in size? Will the cancer start growing again after treatment?
  7. How will I know if the chemotherapy or radiation is working? How do you plan to assess the effectiveness of the treatment?
  8. What is the likelihood that my survival time will be increased as a result of this treatment? What is the expected survival time increase as compared to no treatment?
  9. What is the likelihood that my quality of life will be improved after I receive this treatment?
  10. What are the risks associated with this treatment with regard to morbidity (adverse effects from the treatment), mortality and the risks of developing another cancer?
  11. How will I receive the chemotherapy: how often; how long; oral or intravenous?
  12. Where will I go to get my chemotherapy treatments?
  13. What can I do to prepare for treatment and decrease the chance of debilitating side effects?
  14. What side effects should I expect and how long will they last? What can I do to reduce uncomfortable side effects if they occur? (please visit http://www.LotsToLiveFor.com for products to reduce and relieve side effects of cancer treatment)
  15. What should I do if I lose weight and don’t seem to be getting the proper nutrition?
  16. What support can you suggest to boost the efficacy and reduce my risk of dangerous side effects? Can you suggest suitable herbal and natural remedies? Will you help me devise a supplement program?
  17. Are there any clinical trials which might be suitable for me which I might want to explore?
  18. If my insurance company asks for a second opinion, or if I would like to get one, can you suggest another oncologist to contact?
  19. Does your practice or does this facility offer an Oncology Nurse Navigator for their patients? (See blog post entitled “What is an Oncology Nurse Navigator?”)
  20. Can you recommend a Cancer Coach? (See blog post entitled “Cancer Coach-Trained to Help Cancer Patients Along Their Journey – Could a Cancer Coach
    Help You?” )
  21. What lifestyle changes will I need to make to prepare for treatment, during treatment and after treatment with regards to: Diet, Activities, Work and Exercise?
  22. Do you recommend complementary therapies such as yoga, exercise, acupuncture, meditation, and do you have other suggestions?

Receiving a diagnosis and discussing treatment options can be overwhelming. It is helpful to be prepared for appointments with a concrete list of questions and to take thorough and complete notes. Sometimes it helps to try to take a step away, and approach the discussion clinically. As hard as it is, try to be unemotional and evaluative. Do research, take notes and keep thorough records. We hope these questions will help you take control, and understand your treatment better.

To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Know your options and embrace your informed decisions. Knowledge is power and empowerment makes you a better patient.

If readers of this blog post have additional suggestions to add to this list, please comment on this blog or on http://www.facebook.com/LotsToLiveFor .

Related Article:

About Margot Malin: Intellectually cMargot Malinurious 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.

Tips to Control Chemotherapy Nausea and Vomiting (CINV)

Tips To Control Chemotherapy Nausea & VomitingBy Margot Malin, Founder and CEO of Lots To Live For, Inc.

One of the most dreaded and anxiety producing side effects of cancer treatment is chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting (CINV). In this blog post we offer a variety of tips to help you reduce chemotherapy nausea. Controlling nausea can significantly improve your comfort and help ensure completion of your chemo treatments as scheduled.

Medications
Speak with your oncology doctors and nurses to find the antinausea medicine that works best for you. Anti-nausea medications, also called antiemetics, are sometimes so effective that experts have shifted their focus from treating nausea to aggressive prevention. Unfortunately however, the majority of people on a chemo regimen still face some risk of becoming nauseous. Some patients have to try a few antiemetics before finding the one that works best.

Food
Try eating bland foods. For example – toast, oatmeal, bananas, broiled or baked chicken with no skin, or similar items. Eat small quantities more frequently. Delay eating for at least one hour after treatment. Try not to start treatment with an empty stomach. Avoid greasy, fried, salty, sweet, or spicy foods. A recent study funded by the National Cancer Institute showed that ginger, even in small amounts, can help reduce nausea.

Hydration
It is important to stay hydrated. Try taking small sips of water during the day instead of gulping or consuming large quantities at a single sitting. Broth is another liquid that may be easy to sip. Drinking natural root beer and/or ginger ale may be effective ways to reduce CINV. Some herbal teas may ease digestive discomfort while stimulating a weak appetite. Suck on hard candy such as Queasy Drops, popsicles or ice during treatment.

Smell
Avoid foods with strong odors. Avoid strong smells such as flowers, perfumes and some cleaning products. Some personal care product scents may irritate your senses. Some essential oils can be helpful, but they must be administered carefully.

Body Position
Do not lie down flat for at least 2 hours after eating. Rest by sitting up or reclining with your head elevated.

Products to Help
biobands_ pic_ 1Biobands – This simple and inexpensive wristband utilizes acupressure, a natural pressure therapy applied to a specific acupuncture point that controls nausea and vomiting. Wearing Biobands can help control nausea during treatment and throughout the day.

Queasy Pops and Drops are the natural way to ease a queasy stomach. They are effective due to their special formulation of essential oils, aromatherapy and their unique delivery method. They are also a great way to help with dry mouth symptoms.

Integrative Approaches and Alternative Treatments

Deep Breathing Exercises and Guided Meditation can help you relax before and during treatment. They can help put your mind in a calmer, positive and more proactive place.  An example of a CD to help teach you breathing techniques is Breathe With Purpose. An example of guided imagery is the Whip Cancer app. Calm.com offers a guided meditation app. Saagara offers two pranayama apps, with guided breathing.

Acupuncture for Cancer Treatment NauseaAcupuncture lowers nausea and/or vomiting in some people. In addition to reducing nausea, some patients find that it also helps to minimize hives and joint swelling, which can be other side effects of treatment.

Exercise – Get moving as soon as you can! Find an exercise that you enjoy and do it!  Even if the movement is minimal or slow at first, or on the days of treatment, don’t be discouraged. Exercise should help you through chemo fatigue as well.  However, exercising too soon after eating may slow down digestion and increase discomfort. A good resource is the new book Exercises for Cancer Survivors by Carol Michaels.

Hypnosis has been suggested by some professionals as another helpful complementary therapy.

Essential Oils and Aromatherapy
There are a number of essential oils and herbs that can be helpful. Discuss the use of these treatments with your oncology team before using them, because they have the potential to block the effects of your medication. Natural Remedies of CINV by Pamela Taylor is a helpful book that can help to familiarize you with herbs, essential oils, and aromatherapy.

Medical Marijuana
It’s long been general knowledge that marijuana can soothe nausea. This is now an option in some states where medical marijuana is legal. A synthetic version of the active ingredient, THC, is in the prescription drug Marinol (dronabinol).

Important NO-NO’s
No caffeine. No smoking. No alcohol.

The more comfortable you are during treatment, the better your mental and emotional state.  A more comfortable state of mind will contribute to optimizing your outcome. Don’t hesitate to consult with your oncology team for additional ideas. We hope our suggestions will improve your comfort by reducing your nausea during your cancer journey.

Related Article:

About Margot Malin: Intellectually cMargot Malinurious 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.

Great Chemotherapy Gift Ideas And How To Create Your Own Chemo Goody Bag

By Margot Malin, CEO, President and Founder of Lots To Live  For, Inc.

We often receive questions from friends and relatives of cancer patients about the best gifts for chemotherapy patients.  In this blog piece we share our best ideas and reasons why we choose to highlight these items.  If you are a patient, give yourself permission to create a wish list or put together a self gift. All the items we have chosen to include will enhance your physical, spiritual and emotional comfort during chemotherapy.

PRODUCTS FOR THE PHYSICAL SIDE EFFECTS

During and after chemotherapy your senses may feel like they have gone haywire. Taste changes are a very common side effect of chemotherapy (technically called dysgeusia). Your sense of smell might also change, and you might become overly sensitive to fragrances.  You might get chills frequently or constantly feel cold. Your mouth may develop sores and feel very dry. You may feel nauseous. We offer a variety of products to add to your goody bag to reduce these uncomfortable physical side effects.

Warmth:  Be sure to include a warm fuzzy blanket, soft and warm socks, fuzzy gloves, a hat or other head cover such as a scarf or head wrap.  Wear comfortable clothes.

Oral Care:  Drink plenty of fluids. Carry a water bottle. Bring a thermos with organic tea or broth. Mouth moisturizer products such as Mouth Kote oral moisturizer and Biotene dry mouth gum can help dry mouth.  Be sure to include a lip balm or lip moisturizing product because you lips can get very dry. Bring a disposable toothbrush for gentle brushing and hydration.

Skin Care:  Different chemotherapy medications can cause a variety of skin issues.  Dry skin is very common. We suggest a hand moisturizer such as a tube of Atopalm Moisturizing Hand Treatment. If you are experiencing hand/foot syndrome we suggest Soothing Balm by Lindiskin Lindiskin face serums (lavender or citrus) are very helpful for acneform rash. Don’t forget to pack a small hand sanitizer.

Antinausea Products (to combat CINV):  Biobands are clinically proven, effective acupressure wristbands that provide relief of nausea associated with chemotherapy. Queasy Drops are also an effective way to relieve nausea associated with chemo. They also help to alleviate dry mouth symptoms.

Overall Comfort:  Bring a large tote bag with compartments to organize and carry all of your items. Bring a travel pillow.  Don’t forget individual packs of tissues.

THE MENTAL, SPIRITUAL AND EMOTIONAL

In addition to personal care products to alleviate physical discomfort, we offer a few products to boost your mental, spiritual and emotional state of mind.

To Pass the Time:  Ask a friend to accompany you to treatment on occasion.  If you will be alone, be sure to bring a variety of things that can help you pass the time.  You might not feel like concentrating too deeply so bring a variety of different types of distractions – some that might require focus, some that require less engagement.  Choose as many or as few of the following:  An ipod, an ipad or tablet, a Kindle, a book, magazines, and/or a journal. If you like to draw, bring a sketchbook. We also suggest bringing pictures on electronic media or a photo album to surround yourself with pictures of loved ones.

Spiritual and Breathing: There are a number of CD’s, ipod downloads, and cell phone apps that can help with visualization and breathing.  Both can be very helpful during chemotherapy treatment.  Whip Cancer is an example of a visualization app which can help empower patients and reduce stress. The Breathe With Purpose CD is helpful for stress reduction, visualization, and meditation. There are numerous other apps for visualization, stress reduction, and meditation to explore.

A FEW NO-NO’S

Many oncologists recommend that cancer patients avoid refined sugar. Therefore we do not suggest baked goods or candy. They are often recommended by others, but we feel strongly that more healthy food options should be considered.  Sugary drinks are not recommended either.

A cancer patient may become very sensitive to smells so we do not suggest perfumes or flowers of any kind.

IN CONCLUSION

We have researched and reviewed products for many years to find personal care products that are effective in reducing and relieving the unpleasant and uncomfortable side effects of chemotherapy treatment. We invite you to visit our website at www.LotsToLiveFor.com to see all of the products that meet our high standards. We hope that the suggestions in this blog piece will help to make your chemotherapy journey more tolerable and comfortable.

Related Article:

About Margot Malin: Intellectually cMargot Malinurious 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.

Cancer Pre-Treatment Check List – 6 Tips To Make Your Life Easier Once You Begin Treatments

Breast Cancer Pre-Treatment Check ListBy Margot Malin, CEO and Founder of www.LotsToLiveFor.com

Receiving a diagnosis of cancer can be overwhelming. There are so many questions swirling through your mind and so many things to put in order. Here is a short list of 6 tips suggested by other patients to help make your treatment both more comfortable and better organized.

  1. Familiarize Yourself with Your Medications and their Side Effects
    If you are going to receive chemotherapy, find out the names of your medications. Ask your oncologist or oncology nurse about the expected side effects so that you can prepare for them mentally and research some products that might help to reduce the side effects. If you are going to receive radiation, find out the duration of the sessions and what the expected effect on your skin will be, and how you can mitigate side effects. Take very good notes when you speak to your oncology team about your treatment and diagnosis.
  2. Schedule a dentist appointment
    Cancer treatment can cause side effects in your mouth.  A good cleaning and dental checkup before treatment starts can help prevent painful mouth problems. A dentist can help you protect your mouth, teeth, and jaw bones from damage caused by head and neck radiation and chemotherapy. Serious side effects in the mouth can delay, or even stop cancer treatment. It will be difficult to receive dental procedures during cancer treatment. Your dentist may also give you important tips to protect your mouth during treatment and to help you care for possible mouth problems. Ask your cancer care team to stop smoking or chewing tobacco. People who do not use tobacco have fewer mouth problems. You can view some oral care products that have been specially developed for oral care during oncology by clicking here.
  3. Order some new products in advance to test them to see if you have any reactions to them, and to see if you like their feel and other characteristics.
    Research and order skin care, hair care, oral care, anti-nausea, and nutritional products in advance so you are prepared with products to help soothe potential side effects.  Test them on your skin, scalp, and mouth before you start treatment to be sure that they agree with you. Clear the use of them with your oncology professionals.  You will be happy and relieved to have them once you begin treatment.
  4. Make a List of Things that will need to be done and circulate it to friends and relatives so they can sign up to help you
    Treatment will probably make you tired. Frequently friends and relatives want to help, but they don’t know what to do. Here’s your chance to help them help you. Make a list of things that you might need help with and dates that you will need help. The more specific you are with dates and times, the easier it will be for people to help.  Circulate the list to friends and relatives by email and invite them to sign up. Here are some ideas to include:  grocery shopping, baby sitting, driving carpools, rides to and from doctor appointments, rides to and from chemo, company during chemo, dropping off dinner for the family, doing laundry, helping the kids with homework, or other things that might be specific to you or your family.  Don’t be afraid to ask for little favors because people don’t want to be intrusive but they do want to help!  Even better……ask a friend to organize this schedule for you!
  5. Create a Treatment Goody Bag for Yourself
    Put together a tote bag of items that you might want to bring with you to treatment to make yourself more comfortable, and also to help you pass the time.  Here are a few suggestions to get started:  a blanket, hat, gloves, warm socks, a water bottle, sucking candies or mouth moisturizer spray, reading material, listening material, and a journal.  We will expand on this section in our next blog post where we will give more descriptive product suggestions and ideas.
  6. Meet with a Naturopathic Doctor
    A Naturopathic Doctor can help to improve the efficacy of treatment, lessen side effects and also to help you devise a wellness plan going forward. He or she will take a more holistic view of your body and give you product and supplement suggestions that might not included in the treatment provided by your oncology team.  Integrative medicine, practiced by many ND’s is healing-oriented medicine that takes account of the whole person (body, mind, and spirit), including all aspects of lifestyle. It emphasizes the therapeutic relationship and makes use of all appropriate therapies, both conventional and alternative.  A consultation with a naturopathic doctor will open your eyes to complementary approaches which can sustain you through treatment and beyond. Your oncology team focuses on getting rid of your cancer – your can help you protect the rest of your body and prevent unnecessary damage.

Each of these 6 tips should help to reduce the uncertainty and confusion that come with a cancer diagnosis and treatment plan. Try to organize and simplify your daily schedule whenever possible. Don’t forget to ask for help!

Margot Malin is CEO and Founder of Lots To Live For, Inc.  Lots To Live For sells personal care products to reduce and relieve the unpleasant and uncomfortable side effects of chemotherapy, radiation, and other cancer therapy.  We deliver comfort during cancer. Please view our website at http://www.LotsToLiveFor.com Please visit us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/LotsToLiveFor

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