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.

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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.

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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.

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