Bleeding and bruising in cancer patients is mainly associated with the failure of various factors controlling blood clotting. Clotting is mainly affected by; weak blood vessels, low platelet count, poor platelet function, and low vitamin K in the body. Low platelet count and poor platelet function (thrombocytopenia) are the main reasons for bleeding and bruising by cancer patients.
The whole issue of bleeding in cancer patients could be quite mystifying. However, don’t worry because we have the condition covered under this blog. You can also find more information presented by Laura in our “bruising treatment video” on YouTube.
Reasons for bleeding and bruising in cancer patients
Patients may experience bleeding and bruising due to; cancer itself, cancer treatment, medicines like blood thinners and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and surgeries for tumor removal. Other causes could be angiogenesis (which involves the growth of new blood vessels in cancer tumors) and local tumor invasions.
Causes and Symptoms of bleeding and bruising in cancer patients
Below is a brief explanation of each of these bleeding bruise causes in cancer patients:
This results from a low platelet count in the patient’s blood. Malfunctioning of the platelets is also a form of the thrombocytopenia problem.
One of the thrombocytopenia causes is chemotherapy which involves damaging tissues inside the bone… but the damage doesn’t last forever.
Antibodies responsible for the production of proteins that kill viruses and bacteria may at times destroy healthy platelets.
Cancer that spreads to the bone or the spleen may affect platelet levels. That’s because cancer in bones means that the bone marrow won’t produce new platelet cells. Also, cancer inhabiting the spleen occupies space where extra platelets should be stored.
Note: Platelets are tiny blood cells produced in the bone marrow. They stick together during an injury to form a plug or a clot which should stop bleeding.
Here are some symptoms of thrombocytopenia:
- Prolonged bleeding when injured.
- Running nose and gum bleeding.
- Blood in urine, vomit, or stool.
- Heavy menstrual cycles.
- More bruises than usual.
- Muscle and joint pains.
Also known as coagulopathy factors, these may lead to poor blood clotting in cancer patients’ body systems. One of these includes liver problems when the liver doesn’t produce enough clotting factors. Therefore, this causes bleeding from the liver or other parts of the gastrointestinal tract. Liver cancer is also another major cause of bleeding which you can notice by having blood in the urine.
Lack of vitamin K (VK) in cancer patients is also a common factor common. Medical procedures like chemotherapy cause nausea and lowers your appetite. Appetite loss could lead to malnourishment and low intake of enough VK-rich foods will lead to easy bleeding.
Treatment and Control
Here is how you can take care of cancer bleeding and bruising:
Thrombocytopenia – Treatment of thrombocytopenia could be challenging in case the patient has other underlying conditions. However, radiation therapy, reduced chemotherapy, and platelet transfusion are some of the recommended solutions. Additionally, medications like oprelvekin can help accelerate platelet production during itp treatment.
Vitamin K – You can easily prevent Vitamin K deficiency by taking a variety of foods, especially vegetables.
Our medical team at OncoPower can guide you through the management process and precisely walk you through every step. You can also get more insights from videos on our Oncopower app. Our associates specializing in cancer-related issues will advice you on how to handle the problem.
Today we will discuss the skin problems from cancer treatment and unveil how you can manage them. That’s because patients often worry when the side effects of cancer treatment kick in.
Cancer treatment can result in various skin problems like itching, rash, dryness, pigmentation, light sensitivity, nail problems, skin sores, and other forms of allergic reactions. Fortunately, we have the answers to this cancer treatment issue.
In this blog, we will discuss these skin problems and also recommend ways to manage them as covered in our YouTube video on “How to manage skin problems from cancer treatment.”
Causes of skin problems in cancer patients
Skin problems can result from;
- Immunotherapy targeted therapy drugs
- Radiation therapy and
- Organ transplant therapy.
For instance, cancer rash is a common skin problem among cancer patients during chemotherapy. There is a possibility that patients may experience a cancerous rash or cancer effects on the skin.
Manage Skin Problems From Cancer Treatment
There is no need to panic over rash during cancer treatment. This is because many cancer patients experience chemo rash associated with chemotherapy treatment. The best way to find out what causes your rash is by contacting a doctor and discussing your symptoms.
Cancer, itchy skin, and chemotherapy usually go hand in hand. This is especially so if a patient is undergoing more than one cancer treatment. The reason behind this itchiness is that chemotherapy can cause the nerve cells in the skin to degenerate leading to adverse side effects.
Due to cancer treatment, the skin might also become itchy and necessitate scratching. Sometimes, in the process of scratching the skin, sores might develop. Cancer skin sores are usually triggered by the body’s immune system.
Cancer sores normally take a lot of time to heal, and this can be a major concern for cancer patients because postponing cancer treatment also presents a variety of health risks.
The patient needs to identify the root cause of the particular skin problem, whether it’s radiation therapy or chemotherapy treatment, or something else. However, identifying the cause is just the first step toward managing the problems; it is important to know how to deal with them.
How to manage the skin problems
Treating your skin every day will also go a long way in managing skin problems.
Here are some tips that might help you deal with skin problems in cancer patients:
- Manage rashes; Avoid any irritants such as soap, detergents, and creams with fragrances, wash skin with warm water and use moisturizing lotion at least twice a day to help keep the surface of your skin moist and soft. Your doctor may give prescriptions on how to use the lotion and also prescribe antihistamine pills to relieve itching. We recommend using moisturizers with urea, salicylic acid, and lactic acid.
- To manage light sensitivity; Apply sunscreen with SPF 15 or above to shield your skin from the sun. Use protective clothes and hats since the sun’s ultraviolet rays may make your skin problems worse and can cause serious damage to your skin.
- To manage itching; The doctor may prescribe a steroid cream, a medicine that may help to relieve itching or rash. Getting a corticosteroid anti-inflammatory medications prescription may also manage the rash.
- To manage nail problems; Avoid wearing tight shoes, wear gloves while working and keep nails short and moisturized to mitigate any potential nail problems.
- For effective management of the condition; Carefully watch out for skin infections and contact your doctor in case you develop fever, swelling, and redness among other signs.
It is important that you keep in touch with your healthcare team and also let the doctor know of any moisturizers that you are using. You can also download the OncoPower App where our experts offer free consultation services. On the app you can seek any clarifications about conditions or problems experienced after cancer treatment. You will also learn more on what to do during and after cancer treatment from our medical team through the OncoPower Website.
Dizziness during cancer treatment can either be a symptom of cancer or a side effect of various cancer treatments. Most patients encounter dizziness and light-headedness which range from temporary and mild to severe dizziness over a longer period.
What is dizziness?
Dizziness is the feeling of lack of balance or what feels like the spinning of a room which gets worse when one stands up. Dizziness during cancer treatment is a side effect of the various medications a patient may be undergoing. That doesn’t rule out the fact that cancer symptoms and signs can show similar effects.
However, it is not just cancer that can cause dizziness and feeling of fatigue all the time. There are several other causes of dizziness. Some of these causes may be easy to manage while some may need the professional services of an oncologist to treat or manage.
Note: While this blog will focus on how to deal with dizziness caused by cancer treatment, it is equally important to know how to deal with dizziness from other conditions and what precautions can help manage dizziness.
What causes dizziness during cancer treatment?
There are several causes for dizziness and light-headedness that could come and go unpredictably, sometimes each visit to the doctor completely eradicates the problem.
It is common for patients who have undergone chemotherapy as part of their cancer treatment to experience dizziness.
Dizziness after radiation primarily occurs if the beams are directed to the nervous system including the brain and the spine which are essential for body balance.
Cancer treatments and various other treatments may cause anaemia. Anaemia in turn leads to a deficiency of oxygen and nutrients which results in dizziness. Similarly, underfeeding, inadequate drinking of water, and vomiting may also lead to dizziness. Patients with tumors especially in the brain may also experience dizziness.
Additional causes of dizziness
Drug-related dizziness may go away after using medication for quite a while. It is for this reason that researchers have drawn a strong relationship between dizziness and cancer. It is important to understand that because there are several causes of dizziness, it can be difficult for doctors and patients to pinpoint the exact cause.
Besides, there is a possibility that other causes may co-exist therefore it is important to extensively understand the causes of dizziness and manage it.
Other causes of dizziness:
- Fluctuating blood pressure
- Fluctuating blood sugar levels
- Ear disease or injury
- Heart problems
Below are recommendations on how cancer patients can manage dizziness
It is highly recommended that you contact your healthcare team in case dizziness persists for days. Your doctor will help establish the cause of your dizziness and provide the appropriate directions on how to manage it.
This is important since some symptoms coupled with others may imply serious illnesses such as stroke which need immediate attention.
Doctors may also provide palliative care for cancer patients to tackle cancer weakness and dizziness among other side effects. However, it is important to know how to cope with dizziness and light-headedness.
Managing dizziness during cancer treatment
- Drink a lot of water (up to 10 glasses a day)
- Avoid drinks with high caffeine levels
- Do physical activities, such as walking and swimming but be cautious not to hurt yourself when doing these activities
- When going up or down the stairs, support yourself with handrails
- You could also consider using a walking stick for balance
- Refrain from driving in case your dizziness persists
- Avoid standing abruptly or changing positions too quickly
- Observe your diet and proper nutrition
Do you have questions regarding cancer disease or other health issues?
Our experts are at your disposal on the OncoPower app and the OncoPower website. Here you can ask any question and access free guidelines from videos, in the Education Library section, created to specifically cover any of your concerns in particular. How can you access this crucial cancer information?
- Download the OncoPower app for Android
- Download the OncoPower Apple app for iPhone, iPod, iPad, and Mac devices
This blog does not fully cover all the possible causes of dizziness and how to manage them. However, if your dizziness lasts longer than normal, talk to a doctor or get fast insights into the problem from our application, read from cancer websites. You may also watch our “managing dizziness in cancer patients” YouTube video and subscribe to the channel for timely notification once new resources are uploaded.