10 Ways to Support Yourself While Being Treated for Breast Cancer

Receiving a breast cancer diagnosis can be hard to navigate. The powerful drugs used in chemotherapy can have many unpleasant side effects. However, there are ways to reduce these effects. It is important to keep your doctor informed about any difficulties you are experiencing. They may be able to adjust your treatment plan and modify your medications or dosage. For example, in chemotherapy, the doctor will try to determine the optimum dose for effectiveness.

You may not have thought of all the potential issues that can come up with a breast cancer treatment. One thing to be aware of is that after a surgery, it can be hard to maneuver the car while reversing out of parking spots. To minimize this, look for a spot where you can pull in or out. Here are some tips to help make the entire process easier and more comfortable.

Educate Yourself About Hair Loss

When a woman gets the news that she has breast cancer, she worries about the possibility of hair loss. Even though it is sometimes necessary to lose your hair to save one’s life, it is still a difficult experience. Not all women experience this, and if you do, it will grow back. To make the transition a bit easier, you may want to cut your hair shorter before beginning chemotherapy. Going au naturel, wearing a scarf, or sporting a cap are other coping strategies. You can also choose to wear a wig if you prefer.

Look After Your Skin

Boosting your appearance during chemotherapy can help you look and feel your best. You can take measures to hide any changes in your skin that may occur, such as discoloration or dryness. This will give you the confidence you need to face the occasional glances of yourself and the responses you receive from others. Additionally, there are certain things that can help you look and feel great while undergoing cancer treatment, including:

  • Increase your moisturizing regimen more often than you had been before starting treatment.
  • Apply foundation or a tinted moisturizer to even out the skin’s tone. For dry skin, opt for a hydrating product to help keep skin soft. Use a clean sponge or your fingertips for a natural look, or use makeup brushes for more coverage. Blend it in well by dotting it on the areas needed.
  • Using a brow pencil or powder that matches your hair color, you can add eyebrows. Begin above the inner corner of your eye, drawing the eyebrow onto your brow bone. It should reach its highest point at the outer edge of the iris.

Helping Your Bruised and Heavy Hands and Arms Feel Relief

Lymphedema is a condition which can occur when fluid accumulates in the fat underneath the skin in certain areas. It has a higher chance of developing when lymph nodes in the arm or chest have been removed after breast cancer surgery or treatment with radiation. To help prevent this, it is best to have immunizations, blood pressure measurements and blood tests done on the other side.

  • Put on a pair of protective gloves when cooking and doing chores.
  • Apply antibiotic cream on cuts.
  • Put on compression sleeves when on a lengthy flight.
  • Do not lift anything heavy with your injured side.
  • Ask your doctor to suggest a physical therapist who has undergone further training, unless you already have lymphedema.
  • Your physical therapist could recommend wearing compression clothing, using specific bandages, or performing activities to reduce swelling.

Don’t Ignore Symptoms: Seek Medical Advice for Discomfort and Nausea

Your doctor may suggest an anti-nausea medication to help combat the gastrointestinal issues caused by chemotherapy. Make sure to tell them the specifics of your situation so they can better help you manage it. Additionally, you can reduce the severity of these side effects by taking the right medication prior to chemotherapy. Additionally, you can make certain dietary adjustments to soothe your stomach:

  • Eat small meals throughout the day.
  • Use natural flavorings such as sodas, tea, and candies to relieve nausea.
  • Avoid foods that are fatty, fried, spicy, sweet, or peppery.
  • Avoid strong smelling foods and the kitchen when others are cooking.
  • Stay hydrated with clear liquids such as broth, juice, and fizzy drinks.
  • Wait an hour after treatment before eating or drinking.
  • Consider acupuncture as a treatment for nausea and vomiting.

Adjust Strategies to Avoid Oral Ache

Chemotherapy and radiation treatments can sometimes cause mouth sores. To help minimize their occurrence, it is recommended to:

  • Use a gentle toothbrush.
  • Avoid mouthwash with alcohol and abrasive toothpaste.
  • Consume ice chips or popsicles.
  • Avoid hot or crunchy foods.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages and acidic or fizzy drinks like tomato or citrus juices.
  • Drink using a straw.

Working Out

Exercising can be hugely beneficial for those fighting cancer and dealing with the side effects of chemotherapy. Even a brief walk around the neighborhood or in the park is better than nothing. Start off with a low intensity and gradually increase the intensity of your workout until you can handle more strenuous activities. Experts recommend doing 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of strenuous exercise every week, in addition to strength training.

Physical deconditioning due to inactivity can lead to a decrease in muscle mass and strength. If you need further advice, it is best to speak to your doctor or other healthcare providers. An exercise psychologist or physiologist with experience in cancer rehabilitation may be of assistance in establishing an appropriate exercise regimen.

Enjoy Yourself and Giggle

Look for the beauty in life whenever you can. It may be hard to do this on days when you’re undergoing chemotherapy, and it’s ok to feel a whole range of emotions. Having something that makes you laugh, such as a podcast, TV show, or movie, can be a great way to have a break. Make a list of possible shows, or ask other people for recommendations. This doesn’t mean you have to be cheerful and positive all the time. It’s simply about trying to enjoy things in spite of the challenges.

Make Healthy Eating Choices

It is important to get sufficient nutrients and water. Whilst some may be able to shed pounds, for most people, the opposite is true; gaining weight during chemotherapy is not unusual and can reach up to 10 kg. Eating difficulties, steroids and lack of exercise can all add to this. Cookbooks designed for cancer patients may give helpful advice on meals that are nourishing, easy to digest and easy to prepare. Furthermore, when undergoing IV chemotherapy, it is important to take note of body weight – this will help to determine the correct dosage and also be useful to track any weight gain or loss. Consulting a dietitian with expertise in cancer nutrition may also be beneficial.

Your digestive system can be affected by cancer treatments, resulting in shifts in taste and smell. You may find that your favorite foods don’t taste as good as before and, on the flip side, some of your least favorite items may be more pleasing. If this is the case, you may find that you’re more inclined to eat cooked vegetables in the form of a soup or stew, instead of a salad.

Include a multitude of antioxidant-packed produce in your diet to help combat cancer. Eat a wide variety of colourful fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes such as lentils and black beans. For maximum benefit, choose a variety of vibrant whole foods like spinach, blueberries and white onions. While alcohol is not normally recommended during treatment, if you do decide to consume it, limit your intake to three drinks or fewer each week.

Choosing the Best Bra for Optimal Comfort

Based on the treatment you had and what the doctor recommends, you’ll have to wear a specific type of bra the day after the procedure. This will reduce pain and scarring if you hold everything in place and prevent any jiggling. Most compression bras used in healthcare have front closures, which make them easy to take off and put on. Later, your doctor might suggest that you wear a bra all the time to avoid movement that can cause pain. If you have bigger breasts, you could sleep on the side of the body that wasn’t operated on and place a cushion in front of you to support your healing breast. Once the surgeon tells you to start wearing regular bras, find out which type would be most comfortable for you. Laces and underwires can irritate scars if they press against them or rub them.

If you have had a mastectomy but are putting off or choosing not to have reconstruction, talk to a bra specialist about your options. They can provide a broad selection of breast prostheses or forms to fill the space where your breast used to be.

Enjoy Sociable Interaction

Striving to have a conversation with someone every day is a challenge for those with weakened immune systems and undergoing chemotherapy. Isolating oneself and feeling lonely is made simpler due to the mouth ulcers, dry mouth and skin sensitivity that can occur. Text messaging, as well as internet communities, can be helpful in connecting people who are going through the same ordeal.

Conclusion

Facing breast cancer diagnosis can be a very intimidating experience, particularly for those who are unaccustomed to dealing with health issues. Fortunately, there are many treatments to choose from and although it is an arduous journey, reconnecting with nature can be an effective way to cope. Taking a stroll by the beach or in a forest, taking in the peacefulness, fresh air, smells, and colors of the sky, or listening to birdsong can serve as a beneficial outlet for survivors.