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.

Natural Treatment of Cancer Background Information and Therapies

Natural Treatment of Cancer Background information and therapies

Doctors are trained to treat illness with medication (chemicals) and surgery (not with herbs and diets). Normally they will be unwilling to treat patients with natural products (as a result of their training and knowledge). If you have decided to take the alternative route you should be knowledgeable in natural treatments (this report gives you the necessary tools) and preferably have some family members on your side. Your doctor may be asked to keep an eye over you, as he/she could check on your health and do blood and urine tests. In this way your condition is objectively monitored and you will know if you are getting better and if your diet provides enough minerals, etc. If your doctor is unsympathetic or you need a doctor with a more holistic approach, look on the internet for medical associations in your country that concentrate on a natural approach.

Natural Teatment of Cancer

FREE Natural Treatment of Cancer E-book. CLICK HERE

“Immediately eliminate bad habits and begin building good ones so that you will make sure that you no longer have habits that weaken your immune system and that you will be able to build your body to fight and conquer illness. A sedentary lifestyle with a poor diet, lack of pure water, sunshine and fresh air, and constant exposure to toxins will in time lead to bad health conditions. On the other hand, also be sure to get an abundance of sleep and physical rest to conserve energy for healing and cleansing”

This e book is freely available to everyone as the author feels strongly that no one should be excluded from the use of this report as a result of financial considerations. Much time and energy went into this report, written by an academic librarian. Thousands of documents were consulted. Please note that I am not medically qualified and cannot give medical advice. This is a study of the literature for educational purposes. The information provided should enable you to consult more effectively with professionals.

George Bekker, Auhtor of Natural Treatment of CancerAbout George Bekker: George was born in Cape Town, within sight of Table Mountain. He went to school in the Picturesque Hex River Valley and studied at the University of South-Africa, Stellenbosach and Cape Town. He was employee in various capacities at the university of Western Cape.

Survivorship Gains Attention in the Medical World

Improving Cancer Standards for Breast Cancer PatientsDr. Robin B. Dilley, author of In A Moment’s Notice: A Psychologist’s Journey with Breast Cancer and a licensed psychologist.

For those of you who have been treated traditionally by oncology and radiation therapy you may identify with the awkwardness felt when that day of discharge from the oncologist finally came. Now, that “discharge” is being re-examined and explored positive by the Commission on Cancer.

This morning I was listening to Dr. Andrew L. Sainer talk about cancer survivorship treatment. Dr. Sainer is the director of Helen and Harry Gray Cancer Center in Hartford Connecticut. In his short eight- minute audio he covered some very important facts and spoke of the Commission on Cancer. The Commission on Cancer is an important and clearly missing piece of this post treatment puzzle. There are current 14 million Americans living after a cancer diagnosis. 2/3 of that number will survive five years without a recurrence. This rapidly growing population has unique needs that have never been addressed by the treatment team because there has been no team.

For instance, in my case, my oncologist acted as the hub of my treatment for the first five years and because I continued on the estrogen receptor blocker, Femara for an additional five years I continued to see my oncologist twice a year. Then I was discharged. Ten years is a long relationship. It was during a follow-up mammogram that my radiologist said to me that she did not relax until a patient was 15 years out. I remember thinking to myself. “Really? I have to still be on guard.” And sure enough 15 years to the month the ultrasound tech hung—out for a significant amount of time right over my nipple. When I asked her what she was finding, she said, “Something very small.” The radiologist came in and took over the ultra-sound equipment and told me “IT” is very small. Let’s look at “IT” again in three months. This was a different radiologist than the one I had seen previously. I sat up from the table and said, “Maybe you didn’t notice my right breast is missing. I am a cancer survivor. I am not waiting for three months to recheck.”

The good news about this story is that I did follow-up with my former surgeon and had a left mastectomy. The “IT” was DCIS and it was contained (meaning IT had not spread to my lymph nodes). No follow-up was recommended. Again, I initiated a follow-up with my former oncologist. So the fact that the Commission on Cancer is going to provide every cancer patient/survivor with education and comprehensive care by the end of 2015 is quite impressive. What will that include?

First it will include better education to the survivor. The education will include:

  • Knowledge about the disease and therapy
  • Possible late effects of therapy
  • Surveillance of recurrence
  • Screening for new cancer
  • Risk-reduction lifestyles

The Commission on Cancer believes the patient should be empowered with knowledge and not be lost in the transition from treatment to survivorship. I can attest to that feeling after discharge is a powerless one filled with a loud echo of “Now What?” Thus this important word, “survivorship” is now on the Cancer Control Continuum of Care.

Survivorship Care Issues will include a team approach that will include a psychologist or social worker, assessment of rehabilitation issues, late-effects intervention, wellness strategies, and proper transition to your primary care doctor. Each patient should receive a personalized plan of wellness guidelines that include the promotion of physical activity, diet, and body weight. This plan will be discussed with the patient and the family and with primary care physician.Cancer Treatment Standards

It is my opinion that each of us need to responsible for our medical treatment and follow-up and not leave these important decisions to an over-utilized, over-worked, and under-served medical machine. However, most of you know doing treatment of any sort is exhausting, mentally fatiguing, and so overwhelming that just getting through it is the only goal at the moment. But, as treatment draws to a close and energy begins to return it is important to turn your attention and energy to the “what-now?” Once you are in the survivor phase of treatment what is it that you need to do differently to enhance the quality of your life now?

Even though, there is some discussion over the use of the word “survivor” shall we put that aside for now and realize that as a person who has had cancer in the past, we are on a continuum of care and caring for the self, as a survivor is equally important. Unfortunately, cancer is never in the past tense for those of us who have been through-it, but the phase of survivorship treatment needs to be celebrated in life-enhancing choices. Live well today my friends and fellow survivors.

Dr. Robin DilleyDr. Robin B. Dilley, author of In A Moment’s Notice: A Psychologist’s Journey with Breast Cancer is a licensed psychologist in the State of Arizona. Her eclectic practice allows her to cross diagnostic barriers and meet clients in their need assisting them to respond to life in healthy and empowering ways rather than react to life’s circumstances.

Vegan Creamy Corn Chowder Recipe For A Cancer Free Lifestyle Diet

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By: Breast Cancer Yoga Staff.

I know what most of you are thinking: Corn is a starch – how could it possibly help with cancer prevention? Well, I was just as surprised to hear that corn has it’s right to sit at the table. There is a recent research study at Cornell University which indicated that cooking corn unleashes beneficial nutrients including carotenoids (plant version of vitamin A) that can substantially reduce the chance of heart disease and cancer. Plus cooked corn retains its anti-oxidant activity even after the loss of vitamin C. In fact, cooking increases the anti-oxidants in corn by approximately 53 per cent. Isn’t this a good thing to find out. I love corn. Always use organic ingredients when possible.

Ingredient

4 cups vegetable stock
1 to 2 cups of non-dairy option (soy, almond, coconut or soy)
4 Yukon potatoes diced in cubes
1 cup of diced celery
1 cup of carrots sliced in 1/2 inch cubes
4 cloves garlic
1 yellow onion (large)
2 lbs frozen corn
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 teaspoon pink salt
pepper

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Directions

  1. Heat oil in a 4 quart pot over medium heat. Stir in onions and celery; cook until just slightly golden 3 minutes. Stir in carrots, celery, garlic and red pepper flakes; cook until slightly golden 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, bring water to a boil. Stir in bouillon to 4 cups of water. When bouillon cubes have dissolved, add water, corn and potatoes to pot. Cook until vegetables are tender. Stir in cumin, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Add water, if necessary.
  3. Reduce heat to low for 10 to 20 minutes.
  4. Using a blender put 1 cup of soup in blender with 1 cup of non dairy choice and blend for 30 seconds. Here you have a choice of blending the entire soup or adding half blended and half unblended soup together. This makes the soup a bit chunky. If the soup is still steaming hot, make sure to either keep the opening on top of your food processor open, or lift the lid often for steam to escape. If steam builds up in a close container it can explode the lid off.

Diana RossAbout Diana Ross: E-RYT 500 restorative yoga teacher, survivor that cares and founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Diana is making a difference with Breast Cancer Yoga therapeutic products designed to support you emotionally and physically during breast cancer . We want to give you the attention and personal service you need so please email us at info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

Flaxseed & Breast Cancer Survival: Clinical Evidence

Flaxseed For Breast Cancer SurvivalBy Michael Greger, M.D. NutrionalFacts.org

The population data looked so promising that researchers decided to put lignans to the test by feeding women flaxseeds, the most concentrated source of lignans, to see what would happen. The incidence of breast cancer is increasing in the Western world and there is an urgent need for such studies.

One of the ways the chemotherapy drug, Tamoxifen, works is by boosting the levels of angiogenesis inhibitors like endostatin, which is a protein the body makes to try to starve tumors of their blood supply.

Using a technique called microdialysis, where you can stick a catheter into a woman’s breast and kind of suck out some of the fluid bathing the breast cells. If you give women Tamoxifen for 6 weeks, the levels of endostatin within the breast tend to go up, which is a good thing, because it helps stop tumors from hooking up a blood supply. And the same thing happens when you instead add a little under a 1/4 cup of ground flaxseeds to their daily diet. The flaxseed doesn’t seem as powerful as the chemo, but further study was definitely warranted…

And here it is: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of flaxseeds in breast cancer patients. Between the time of first biopsy and surgery, patients were randomized: either the treatment or the placebo group; either a flaxseed-containing muffin or a control placebo muffin.

Why flaxseeds? Again, they’re the richest source of lignans, with levels up to 800 times higher than that of 5 dozen other plant foods tested in the vegetarian diet.

They went all out: the muffins were wrapped up, labeled with numerical code, and the coded muffin packages were then dispensed.

So what happened? Well, muffin compliance was good. (A sentence you don’t often read!) Remember they got a biopsy of the tumor before the study started and then a little over a month later, went in for surgery to get the tumor removed. So they had tumor samples before and after 5 weeks of flax or no flax. Those lucky enough to be randomized into the flax group saw, on average, their tumor cell proliferation go down, cancer cell death go up, and their c-erbB2 score go down, which is a marker of cancer aggressiveness and potential for forming metastases and spreading.

They concluded: “Dietary flaxseed has the potential to reduce tumor growth in patients with breast cancer.” And this was just in 5 weeks! “If the therapeutic index seen in this short-term study can be sustained over a long-term period,” “flaxseed, which is inexpensive and readily available, may be a potential dietary alternative or adjunct to currently used breast cancer drugs.”

Michael Greger M.D.About Michael Greger M.D.

Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous “meat defamation” trial. Currently Dr. Greger proudly serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States.

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.

Breast Cancer Chemotherapy Exercises, Diet and Supplements

Breast Cancer Chemotherapy ExercisesContributed by Jenni Hewster for Breast Cancer Authority Blog.

Breast Cancer Chemotherapy Exercises, Diet and Supplements for Maintaining Bone Health
Women who undergo certain types of chemotherapy have an increased risk of losing significant amounts of bone mass, for several reasons. One is that some chemotherapy drugs directly decrease the body’s calcium levels. In other cases, steroid treatments interfere with bone formation processes in the bone marrow. Another factor is that many women experience early menopause as a long-term consequence of chemotherapy; therefore osteoporosis may develop in some women at a relatively young age, because the likelihood of developing osteoporosis increases after menopause.

Exercising for Bone Health
Weight-bearing exercises like walking, running, and dancing are generally considered to be the best exercises for maintaining bone density, but exercises like yoga can provide a significant benefit too. Even though yoga isn’t considered a weight-bearing exercise, it improves muscle strength and flexibility, as well as balance and posture, and all of these things help support and stabilize the body, and make falls less likely. As well as this, improved general health and body strength makes weight-bearing exercise easier and more effective. Therefore, even if weight-bearing exercise isn’t always possible, gentler forms of movement like yoga still provide important benefits that help maintain bone health and density.

Diet and Supplements for Maintaining Bone Health
Conventional wisdom states that dairy products are the best way to get essential minerals like calcium, which is essential for bone health and maintaining bone density in the long term. This, of course, isn’t an option for vegans, and in fact there are many excellent vegan sources of all the nutrients that bones need to stay healthy, including magnesium, potassium, and vitamin K, in addition to calcium.

All three minerals—calcium, potassium, and magnesium—can be obtained from many plant sources. Green leafy vegetables are high in potassium and calcium, as are many varieties of beans, legumes, and nuts. Bananas are an excellent source of potassium, and brown rice, nuts (almonds in particular), oats, and beans all contain magnesium. Aim for 1000-1300 mg of calcium, 400 mg of magnesium, and 4,700 mg of potassium daily. Vitamin K is an easy nutrient for vegans, as it’s present in virtually all plants, but vitamin D is more difficult, as almost all dietary sources of this vitamin are animal-based. Mushrooms contain small amounts of vitamin D; apart from this, sun exposure and supplements are the best sources.

There are plenty of vegan supplements available, in the event that you decide you need some extra help in getting all the vitamins and minerals you need. When choosing supplements, it’s important to make sure you’re getting them in the right combination. In the case of calcium supplements, for example, one that also includes vitamin D is typically more effective, because the body needs it to absorb and use the calcium. However, many sources of vitamin D are not vegan so it’s typically better to choose separate supplements, and take them at the same time to get the same effect.

Sources
Andrew Weil. “Supplements for Bone and Joints.” Accessed May 3, 2014. Dietary supplements.
Kwikmed. “Complete Video Guide to Osteoporosis and Bone Health.” Accessed May 6, 2014. Science and research.
NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center. “What Breast Cancer Survivors Need to Know about Osteoporosis.” Accessed May 6, 2014. Osteoporosis after breast cancer.
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. “Possible Side Effects of Cancer Treatment.” Accessed May 6, 2014. How chemotherapy affects bones.
The Surgeon General. “Bone Health and Osteoporosis.” Accessed May 6, 2014. Bone density testing.
The Synergy Company. “Bone Renewal.” Accessed May 3, 2014. Dietary supplements for bones.

Maintaining Bone Health During and After Chemotherapy

Core Minerals For Bone Density For Breast CancerContributed by Jenni Hewster for Breast Cancer Authority Blog.

Maintaining Bone Health During and After Chemotherapy
One long-term effect of chemotherapy on the body is the effect it can have on bone density. People who undergo this treatment for certain cancers—including leukemia and lymphoma, as well as breast cancer—have an increased risk of developing osteoporosis later in life, for a variety of reasons relating to the treatment and its side effects. Paying special attention to bone health, and maintaining bone density, is of particular important both in the short term and the long term, to keep bones healthy and strong throughout life.

Chemotherapy and Bone Health
Everyone loses bone mass as they age, but for some people the loss of bone mass is more severe, typically due to inadequate dietary intake of minerals like calcium and magnesium, which are essential for bone formation. People with severely low bone density develop osteoporosis, a disease characterized by weak and brittle bones, and a high risk of bone fractures and breakages.

Women who undergo certain types of chemotherapy have an increased risk of losing significant amounts of bone mass, for several reasons. One is that some chemotherapy drugs directly decrease the body’s calcium levels. In other cases, steroid treatments interfere with bone formation processes in the bone marrow. Another factor is that many women experience early menopause as a long-term consequence of chemotherapy; therefore osteoporosis may develop in some women at a relatively young age, because the likelihood of developing osteoporosis increases after menopause.

Exercising for Bone Health
Weight-bearing exercises like walking, running, and dancing are generally considered to be the best exercises for maintaining bone density, but exercises like yoga can provide a significant benefit too. Even though yoga isn’t considered a weight-bearing exercise, it improves muscle strength and flexibility, as well as balance and posture, and all of these things help support and stabilize the body, and make falls less likely. As well as this, improved general health and body strength makes weight-bearing exercise easier and more effective. Therefore, even if weight-bearing exercise isn’t always possible, gentler forms of movement like yoga still provide important benefits that help maintain bone health and density.

Diet and Supplements for Maintaining Bone Health
Conventional wisdom states that dairy products are the best way to get essential minerals like calcium, which is essential for bone health and maintaining bone density in the long term. This, of course, isn’t an option for vegans, and in fact there are many excellent vegan sources of all the nutrients that bones need to stay healthy, including magnesium, potassium, and vitamin K, in addition to calcium.

All three minerals—calcium, potassium, and magnesium—can be obtained from many plant sources. Green leafy vegetables are high in potassium and calcium, as are many varieties of beans, legumes, and nuts. Bananas are an excellent source of potassium, and brown rice, nuts (almonds in particular), oats, and beans all contain magnesium. Aim for 1000-1300 mg of calcium, 400 mg of magnesium, and 4,700 mg of potassium daily. Vitamin K is an easy nutrient for vegans, as it’s present in virtually all plants, but vitamin D is more difficult, as almost all dietary sources of this vitamin are animal-based. Mushrooms contain small amounts of vitamin D; apart from this, sun exposure and supplements are the best sources.

There are plenty of vegan supplements available, in the event that you decide you need some extra help in getting all the vitamins and minerals you need. When choosing supplements, it’s important to make sure you’re getting them in the right combination. In the case of calcium supplements, for example, one that also includes vitamin D is typically more effective, because the body needs it to absorb and use the calcium. However, many sources of vitamin D are not vegan so it’s typically better to choose separate supplements, and take them at the same time to get the same effect.

Bone Density Tests
The Surgeon General suggests that all women over 65 should have a bone density test to screen for osteoporosis, and also that women under 65 should have the test if they have an increase risk of developing the disease. The test measures bone density and is used to diagnose of osteoporosis; it can also predict whether a woman might develop the disease in the future, so it can be useful for prevention purposes too.

Sources
Andrew Weil. “Supplements for Bone and Joints.” Accessed May 3, 2014. Dietary supplements.
Kwikmed. “Complete Video Guide to Osteoporosis and Bone Health.” Accessed May 6, 2014. Science and research.
NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center. “What Breast Cancer Survivors Need to Know about Osteoporosis.” Accessed May 6, 2014. Osteoporosis after breast cancer.
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. “Possible Side Effects of Cancer Treatment.” Accessed May 6, 2014. How chemotherapy affects bones.
The Surgeon General. “Bone Health and Osteoporosis.” Accessed May 6, 2014. Bone density testing.
The Synergy Company. “Bone Renewal.” Accessed May 3, 2014. Dietary supplements for bones.

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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