Our Mind’s Are Always Racing
In our day to day lives, our minds tend to be always ‘on’. We are constantly replaying stories in our head of what’s to come and what’s going to happen to us in the future. Or we find ourselves in a spiral of rehashing conversations and situations from past events, whether they happened one day or 20 years ago.
Does this sound familiar?
Tuning Into The Present Moment
Stress and anxiety occurs when we are living either in the past or in the future. The present moment is all we ever have, yet we are never really being ‘present’ in our day to day lives. Instead we are worrying, overanalyzing, contemplating, and stressing over situations and events that are either long gone or haven’t even happened.
This is especially true if you receive a cancer diagnosis. A cancer diagnosis can immediately spring your thoughts into a false ‘story’ of future events that hasn’t even happened yet, or perhaps is not going to happen at all. We take ourselves out of the present moment or the ‘now’ and spring ourselves into a fearful story that our mind begins to weave and make up.
This is why it’s so important to have a meditation practice to bring your thoughts and awareness back to the present. And to also view the stories simply as what they are – just stories.
Meditation And Living In The Present
Meditation has assisted many cancer patients with restoring a feeling of calm by centering their thoughts, all while dissipating fears about the future and regrets about the past.
When you meditate, you learn how to become fully present in the here and the now. Meditation expands your senses and deepens your connection to life. It takes you out of living in the ‘past’ or ‘future’. You begin to learn how to be more open to the fullness and beauty in every single moment, even if you are going through cancer treatment. This alone helps free your mind from thoughts that can overwhelm or consume you.
Meditation expands your awareness beyond thought. You start to become aware of what is present in the moment without getting caught up in your thoughts. Meditation brings awareness without adding thought. You become more present and notice more sights, sounds, and sensations. Your connection to life is renewed. Meditation is not about stopping thoughts, but not stopping at them. We are human, thoughts will always arise. Thoughts are just something to observe, not get rid off. Anxiety, stress, and grief occurs when we identify with a particular thought.
Practices to live in the Present Moment:
• Mindful Walking
• Body Scan
• Morning Pages/Journaling
• Visualizing Daily Goals
• Boxed Breathing
• Pay attention to your breathing. Take a few moments throughout the day to focus on your inhales and exhales.
• During times of stress. Pause. Take a breather, a few moments to yourself in silence.
• Choose an activity during the day where you can practice Mindfulness. Doing the dishes, brushing your teeth, walking from your car to your office. Pay attention to each movement and sensation, not letting your mind wander off.
Begin Your Meditation Journey With OncoPower
If you are unsure how to kickstart your mindfulness journey, make sure to visit our OncoPower app to access our meditations for oncologists and meditations for cancer healing and cancer supoprt. Here you can also find additional resources and access to a large community of oncologists and cancer patients.
And if you are interested in a 1:1 consultation with a Meditation teacher, make sure to book a free consultationwith Natalie Thomas, our dedicated Meditation cancer care and oncologist specialist at OncoPower, who can assist you on your mindfulness journey. Utilize our cancer support services today.
The End of A Chapter
As we inch closer to the holiday’s and the end of December, it’s pretty hard to believe that 2022 is about to come to an end. For many, this proved to be a challenging year, as we integrated back into the ‘new normal’ after Covid, dealt with the rising demands in our day to day lives, and/or have been going through cancer treatment.
Celebrate The ‘Wins’ of 2022
While December can be a stressful time, it’s also a time for a personal celebration. It’s t time to reflect back on this year and to celebrate the small wins of 2022. Many times we put so much pressure on ourselves that we neglect the ‘small’ or ‘big’ moments of accomplishment and happiness in our lives. It can be as simple as feeling more at peace in your life. It’s through stepping into a state of gratitude where we are able to realign our energy and give thanks to where we are at, no matter what happened in 2022.
Mindfulness Tools & The New Year
As a mindfulness teacher and coach, it is so important to focus on a wellness routine as you enter into the new year, and a new chapter. Mindfulness practices assist you in releasing stress and anxiety that cancer can bring, healing your physical body, helping you live more in the present moment, improving sleep, and aiding in decreasing depression.
Instead of making new year’s resolutions, I encourage you to focus on meditation and your mindfulness tools. It’s through the practice of going inwards where you begin to shift your outer reality and move closer towards your goals. By cultivating a wellness routine, it’s scientifically proven that you will heal faster, both physically and emotionally.
Benefits of a Wellness Routine
Even by taking just five minutes a day to sit in silence, taking a walk outside, or practicing controlled breathing, you will start to embark on your mindfulness journey. Meditation especially will guide you into a deeper understanding of yourself and the environment around you. Meditation will assist you in calming the thoughts running through your mind, as you begin to cultivate a new found sense of awareness. Your relationships will change, your outer environment will change, and most importantly, YOU will change, all for the better.
If you are unsure where to begin as you enter 2023, OncoPower has some excellent resources to assist you in kickstarting your meditation practice. I am also available for 1:1 meditation sessions where you will practice breathing techniques, light stretches, and guided meditations to help you decrease stress, anxiety, and depression that cancer can bring. Whether you are a seasoned meditator or have never meditated before, our 1:1 sessions together are for all levels. You can book a meditation consultation with me using the link HERE.
Tools & Tips:
Below are also some helpful tools and tips that you can cultivate in your day to day life as you enter into a new year. By just setting the intention of practicing mindfulness, you have already embarked on your journey.
Mindfulness Practices For 2023:
- Boxed Breathing (see our Meditation Suite at OncoPower)
- Walks in nature
- Expressing gratitude
- Light stretches
- Setting a daily intention when you wake up
- Drawing or creating art
- Take a bath with epsom salt
- Practice Yoga
- Get at least eight hours of sleep
- Laugh with others
- Take a digital detox
- Declutter your home
Just by taking 10-15 minutes a day to practice mindfulness, you begin to fill your own cup. Refer back to the check-list and see which practices resonate most with you. All practices will help you while you go through cancer treatment.
Please know you are not alone and it is never too late for change. At OncoPower, we are here to assist you every step of the way.
“The process of healing begins when we mindfully breathe in.” – Thich Nhat Hahn
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness in simple terms refers to the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
Mindfulness is an overall mental state that is achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment – away from the past and the future. Mindfulness has to do with acknowledging and accepting one’s thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations without judgment.
There are many forms of mindfulness practices such as meditation, breathing exercises, visualizations, journaling, sensory exercises, creativity (to name a few). By practicing mindfulness techniques you begin to focus on being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation.
In fact, mindfulness practices serve as highly therapeutic and beneficial to one’s mental, physical, and emotional state, especially when going through your cancer journey.
Through the practice of mindfulness, you begin to fully relax the body and mind, in term helping you reduce stress. Mindfulness techniques are a great tool to use to help you cope with cancer treatment and a cancer diagnosis.
Why Practice Mindfulness?
Mindfulness can assist you with regaining your overall help. It helps you to become fully present in the moment, aware of where you are and where you are going. Many times we are operating on autopilot – and fear. Fear keeps us in a negative mental state, which can lead to increased anxiety and depression. Mindfulness exercises take us out of this emotional hijack to better cope with life’s stresses, such as cancer.
Mindfulness and Cancer
It is said that mindfulness practices for cancer can create better outcomes for patients by helping them focus on the present moment, taking them away from the worry of the unknown that cancer brings.
Stress and anxiety occurs when you are thinking of what has happened to you in the past, and/or what is going to happen in the future. Constantly thinking and worrying about your cancer diagnosis can lead to increased stress, depression, and deterioration of overall health.
By practicing mindfulness for cancer patients, you begin to not think about what is going to happen in the past or the future. And instead, can observe what is happening right here and right now in this moment.
Connecting Back To Yourself
Mindfulness for cancer patients can assist you in connecting within yourself – back to who you truly are. Many times we can abandon ourselves and forget to take care of our basic needs.
We tend to put others before ourselves, which can leave us feeling drained. It is very important to fill your own cup first before others. We cannot give to others which we do not have ourselves.
Through mindfulness practices, you begin to fill your own cup and self worth, even while going through cancer treatment. Just taking a few moments to yourself to practice meditation and to mindfully breathe, you begin to connect back to YOU. Your cup becomes more full and life tends to become more positive and bright.
Taking a moment to pause to practice mindfulness for just a few minutes at different times throughout the day can help you feel much better, and heal much faster, from cancer.
Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness:
- Reduces stress, anxiety, and depression
- Improves sleep
- Reduces chronic pain
- Improves concentration
- Assists with weight loss
- Restores emotional balance
- Increases resiliency
How to Practice Mindfulness:
- Take three deep breaths
- Practice Meditation and/or Yoga
- Give gratitude
- Observe your thoughts and feelings
- Take a mindful walk
To kick start your mindfulness journey, make sure to check out the OncoPower App for guided meditations, affirmations, and deep breathing exercises.
On the app you can also find cancer care specialists, treatment recommendations, and a cancer support community.
Our Mindfulness coach and Meditation teacher, Natalie Thomas, is also available for 1:1 support. CLICK HERE to sign up for your free meditation class with Natalie.
Vaccinations have been an important part of healthcare prevention initiatives since the late 1790s when the first smallpox vaccine was developed. Since then, vaccines helped stop the spread of other deadly diseases including, polio, measles, hepatitis, flu, and most recently, coronavirus (COVID-19). If you have cancer, you might be wondering if getting vaccinated, like the annual flu shots, is helpful or harmful, especially if you are currently receiving cancer treatments. In order to answer that question, you need to understand what vaccines are and how they work.
What are vaccines
When a “foreign” substance enters the body, your immune system produces antibodies to fight it off. This foreign substance is called antigen. An antigen can be a pathogen (bacteria and viruses), chemicals, toxins, and pollens. Vaccines are used to “teach” your immune system to recognize and fight off antigens from certain diseases, such as those mentioned above. There are six types of vaccines: live virus, inactivated virus, subunit, toxoid, mRNA, and viral vector.
Live Virus Vaccines
Live virus vaccines use the weakened form of the virus. They help the immune system recognize the virus to create a lasting protective immune response, but do not cause disease in healthy individuals. Additional doses or boosters for these vaccines are not always needed. Examples include nasal mist flu vaccine, measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), smallpox vaccine, and varicella vaccine.
Inactivated Virus Vaccines
Inactivated virus vaccines are taken from live viruses that have been killed. The killed virus can create an immune response but are incapable of causing disease. Multiple doses and boosters are often needed to build up immunity for full protection. Examples include polio vaccine and flu (injection) vaccine.
Subunit vaccines do not use live pathogens but rather pieces of a pathogen. Since they are not made with the whole organism, they cannot make you sick. Examples include hepatitis B vaccine, shingles vaccine, and pneumonia vaccine.
Toxoid vaccines neutralize the toxic activity caused by bacteria rather than the bacteria itself. An example of this is Tdap, a combination of three vaccines that protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. Boosters for these vaccines are recommended every 10 years.
Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines use the virus’ genetic code. When injected, the RNA material enters the cells causing it to produce antigens specific for that virus, which then triggers an immune response. This mechanism does not change your cells or your DNA, rather it teaches the cells the unique make-up of that specific virus so it is better equipped with antibodies when exposed to it in the future. Examples are COVID-19 Moderna vaccine and COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine.
Viral Vector Vaccines
Viral Vector Vaccines work similarly to that of mRNA vaccines, except they use a harmless virus to deliver the genetic code to the cells in your body. Examples are ebola vaccine and COVID-19 Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
Are vaccines safe for people with cancer?
Cancer and cancer treatments make you immunocompromised, or have a weak immune system. This makes you more vulnerable to infections. If an infection is not found and treated early, it can be life-threatening. As you have read, vaccines require an immune system response to work. It is that immune response that makes you feel sick after receiving a vaccine. With a weak immune system, vaccines will not work as well as they should. Vaccines may still be given, but it is important to know which ones are safe and when. Generally, immunocompromised individuals should not get live virus vaccines. When you are actively receiving chemo or radiation treatments, any vaccine is not recommended except for the flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine.
Flu viruses change constantly, so it is recommended to get the flu shot every year to reduce the risk of infection. The flu can be life-threatening, especially to those with weak immune systems, so prevention is very important. The American Cancer Society recommends that cancer patients receive the inactivated flu virus vaccine every year. People with cancer should not get the nasal mist flu vaccine because it contains the live virus. The best time to get the shot depends on your cancer type and treatments, so discuss it with your doctor beforehand.
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recommends that people with cancer get fully vaccinated against covid, including boosters. If you are in the process of receiving stem cell transplant or cellular therapy, you should wait to receive the covid vaccine three months after finishing treatment. Cancer patients receiving any other treatments should get vaccinated as soon as possible.
How to stay healthy
Whether you are fully vaccinated or not, you must still do what you can to prevent infections:
- Wash your hands often
- Avoid large crowds, and if you must, wear a mask
- Stay away from anyone with the flu, flu symptoms, or any other infections
- Follow your healthcare team’s recommendations after any treatments
- Contact your doctor right away if you are exposed to any illness or having any symptoms
Do not delay in preventing infections. Talk to your doctor today about getting vaccinated. If you are still unsure, our team of experts at OncoPower are ready to answer all your questions.
Chemotherapy is often administered through a catheter inserted into your vein. The common type of catheter used for long term and frequent chemotherapy treatment is an implanted port, or chemo port. It is a catheter connected to a small plastic or metal disc that goes under the skin. Chemo port placement is done by a surgeon or a radiologist, with local anesthesia or conscious sedation. They are usually put in the right side of your chest, but can also be placed on the left side, under your arm, or abdomen.
Benefits of having an implanted port
Having a port for chemo is a common choice for cancer patients because:
- it can remain in place and be used for years
- it is hidden. You will only feel a bump under your skin
- it can be used for medications and blood tests. There is no need for multiple needle sticks
How is a chemo port used for treatments
A trained healthcare professional, typically a nurse, will access your chemo port. Here are key points to remember during port access:
- Ask the nurse to numb the area beforehand. This is not necessary but helpful for your comfort. A numbing cream can be easily applied over your skin and left for 30 minutes.
- Make sure that you, the nurse, and everyone else in the same room are wearing masks during the procedure.
- Your nurse is going to wear sterile gloves during the procedure. If necessary, help him or her keep the sterility of the gloves by keeping your hair, clothes, jewelry, and blankets away.
- The port access needle stays in place while in use. So please be very mindful of your access site.
- Know the kind of port you have. Power-injectable ports can be used for contrast injections, such as those used for CT scans or MRI.
Once your chemo port is accessed, it is covered with a clear sterile dressing and can be used for medications and blood draws. Keep in mind, some hospitals have policies that will not allow port access for other medical treatments if you are actively receiving chemo. This is to reduce the risk of losing your only access– your life line.
Caring for your chemo port
Your chemo port needs to be flushed to prevent infection and to keep it from being clogged. While your port is accessed, it will need to be flushed with saline at least once a day. Prior to removal, your nurse will flush your port with saline and a small dose of heparin to prevent clots from forming. When your port is not routinely being used, you need to have it accessed and flushed every 4 to 6 weeks.
You can also take charge of the cleanliness of your chest port while it is in use:
- Keep the clear dressing clean and dry. Alert your nurse if it looks dirty or is peeling so it can be changed.
- Make sure the hub at the ends of the external catheter are wiped before each use.
- If your port access is being used for several days, ask your nurse for disinfecting protector caps. Most facilities have these as part of their routine intravenous (IV) catheter care intervention.
- Always wash your hands before touching the external catheter
When to call your healthcare provider
Contact your health care team right away if:
- the area around your port appears red, swollen, or bruised, and is painful and warm to the touch
- your arm that is on the same side of your body as the port is swollen
- you see a lot of bleeding around the port or the access catheter
- you see fluids leaking out of the access catheter
The bottom line is, chemo ports are helpful in preventing multiple needle sticks for frequent chemotherapy treatments and blood draws. But before you make a decision about them, you need to understand the pros and cons of having one and how to manage it. For more information about chemo ports, visit the OncoPower education library and watch four short illustrative videos presented by our patient navigator.
Talk to your oncologist today if having a port for cancer treatments is right for you. Our team of medical professionals at OncoPower are standing by to answer all your questions.
Nausea is a common side effect of some cancers and cancer treatments. Nausea is feeling sick to your stomach, or feeling like you might want to throw up. This symptom can be mild or severe, and even lead to vomiting. Regardless of the severity, nausea can be very uncomfortable and can affect your health.
What can cause nausea with cancer
- Certain Cancers (brain, liver, stomach, pancreas, colon, appendix, ovaries)
- Cancer Treatments (chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy)
- Certain medications used to help with cancer treatment side effects. The most common of these are pain medications.
Who is at risk for cancer nausea
Unfortunately, there are certain personal factors that can make you more likely to have cancer nausea. You may be more vulnerable if you have one or more of these:
- History of motion sickness
- Morning sickness during pregnancy
- Prone to nausea and vomiting when sick
- Have a high level of anxiety
What can happen when you get sick to your stomach
The major concern for nausea is decreased nutrition. This is because if you are feeling nauseous, your appetite might be low, or you choose not to eat anything at all in fear of worsening your symptoms or throwing up. Failing to seek treatment for nausea and vomiting can lead to serious health complications. Malnutrition is detrimental to cancer care, and health in general. It can cause weakness, weight loss, inability to fight infections, and inability to finish cancer treatments. Uncontrolled vomiting can lead to dehydration and pain. Read more about malnutrition from our blog post here.
How to manage your symptoms with medications
There is no standard regimen to treat cancer nausea and chemotherapy-induced nausea. However, there are many different kinds of medications available that can help manage your symptoms:
- Drugs that can block the vomiting center in the brain (Prochlorperazine).
- Drugs that can speed up the emptying of your stomach (Metoclopramide, Domperidone)
- Drugs that can block the receptors in the gut (Ondansetron).
- Drugs that are used for other symptoms, but can help reduce nausea and vomiting. Examples of these, and commonly prescribed, are anti-anxiety drugs (Lorazepam) and steroids (Dexamethasone).
There are many medications not mentioned. Talk to your doctor which one is right for you. Keep in mind that some of these can be taken by mouth or injected through an IV access by a healthcare provider.
How to manage your symptoms with dietary modifications
Prevention is key to help with nausea. Your doctor may prescribe a medication to be taken 30 minutes to an hour before meals. However, there are ways to relieve nausea and vomiting without using medications:
- Try eating small frequent snacks rather than large meals
- Avoid high fat, greasy foods, especially before treatments
- Avoid strong odors. Also pay attention to what smells trigger nausea for you
- Do not lay flat for at least 2 hours after eating
- Drink plenty of fluids, but avoid drinking liquids during meals
- Always talk to your doctor first before trying any of alternative and complementary treatments
- If you are vomiting, do not drink or eat for several hours to give your stomach time to heal. Start back on food slowly. Begin with small amounts of clear liquids like water or broths. Then advance to light, mild food like jello or toast. If you can eat that without vomiting, then you can try solid food.
Ask a dietitian for advice on the best food to eat during treatment and recovery. He or she can also recommend ways to help manage your symptoms that will best suit your lifestyle. Watch this video presentation by our registered dietitian Rachel Spencer for more information about nutritional help with nausea.
When to contact your healthcare provider
Nausea and vomiting can be caused by medical conditions unrelated to your cancer and treatments. So, it is important to contact your doctor if:
- You are not getting relief despite medications and careful dietary modifications
- You are vomiting 4 or more times in a 24-hour period
- You have abdominal pain before nausea and vomiting occurs
- You are bothered by the side effects of your medications
Treatments are individualized to your signs and symptoms and lifestyle. Do not let nausea ruin your road to recovery. Talk to your healthcare team today about what works best for you. Our experts at OncoPower can help you get started.
Cancer fatigue versus normal fatigue
In general, everyone gets tired. Then, we go to sleep and feel better. Fatigue is an unusual tiredness that can profoundly affect your quality of life. It can last up to several weeks or longer. Cancer fatigue goes beyond that- it affects you physically, emotionally, and mentally. It usually comes on suddenly and no amount of sleep can help restore your energy. It is important to know that you are not suffering alone. Cancer related fatigue affects 80% to 100% of people with cancer.
What causes fatigue in cancer
The exact reason for cancer related fatigue is unknown. However, it may be related to several causes:
- Cancer treatments (chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, bone marrow transplant, and biologic therapy)
- Decreased Nutrition
How to recognize when there is a problem
Some symptoms are expected during and following cancer treatments:
- Whole body tiredness
- Decreased energy
- Inability to concentrate
- Lack of motivation
- Increased irritability
Talk to your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms persistently for weeks or longer. Your doctor may conduct a physical exam to evaluate the severity of your symptoms. He or she may ask questions to examine the nature of your symptoms. It may also help to keep a journal to track your fatigue and contributing factors.
How to manage cancer related fatigue
Cancer fatigue treatment is managed on an individual basis. However, the first step is to recognize that the problem exists. With the help of your doctor, you can determine the root cause of the problem. After that, an appropriate treatment can be prescribed. There are several actions that experts recommend to help ease your symptoms:
- Blood tests can determine anemia. If you are anemic, your doctor may prescribe iron therapy, blood transfusion, Erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs), and supplements (B12 and folic acid).
- Talk to your doctor about ways to manage pain. Several medications exist to manage pain. You can also try a non-pharmaceutical approach, such as acupuncture, massage, relaxation techniques, and meditation. OncoPower has a wonderful meditation suite you can use any time.
- Talk to a dietitian. He or she can recommend dietary changes to help improve your appetite and nutritional intake. If your intake is poor because of nausea, there are several treatments available that can help you. You can check out more information about that on this video presentation by our registered dietitian Rachel Spencer.
- Seek mental health support. Therapy can help you manage stress, anxiety, and depression. In-person and online support groups can also help.
- Physical activity is important. It can help improve your quality of life and energy. In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, physical activity may help you cope with side effects of treatment and possibly decrease your risk of new cancers in the future.
Everyone experiences cancer fatigue differently. It may be a common side effect of this illness, but it does not have to affect your life. Talk to your doctor today.
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.
Stress on the Rise
In our day to day world we are constantly being bombarded with external influences. Work deadlines, paying bills, pressure to keep the family together – the list is endless. Naturally, as individuals our stress levels are at an all time high. It seems almost impossible to keep up with day to day life, let alone make time for ourselves.
Just from the pandemic alone, stress has skyrocketed around the world, and our mental health has taken a toll for the worse. Add the pressures of day to day life on top of receiving a cancer diagnosis – stress from cancer can wreak havoc on one’s mental, physical, and emotional health.
This is why it’s extremely important to cultivate a mindfulness routine to better cope with life’s stresses.
How Does Mindfulness Help?
Mindfulness is a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment.
Practicing mindfulness involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind and help reduce stress, especially when dealing with cancer treatment.
Mindfulness will help you with being present. When you practice mindfulness, you begin to rewire the subconscious mind. You become more aware of what is happening around you without feeling overwhelmed or reactive. Cancer and stress go hand in hand, mindfulness can help you find relief from your cancer diagnosis.
Mindfulness helps you connect back to yourself. We tend to put the needs of others before our own needs. Mindfulness helps you take a moment to yourself. It is very important to fill up your own cup before the cup of others.
Mindfulness can also take you out of a place of stress from cancer and into a state of joy. You begin to express yourself fully and focus on a life where your cup feels full, even while going through your cancer healing journey.
Pausing to practice mindfulness for just a few minutes at different times during the day can help your days be better, more in line with how you’d like them to be.
Where To Begin?
Receiving a cancer diagnosis, as well as going through cancer treatment, can definitely pile on massive amounts of anxiety on top of the pressures of day to day life.
At OncoPower, we understand the stresses that one goes through with going through a cancer journey, and realize how important a mindfulness routine can be. It’s our priority to make sure that each patient receives the top care they deserve.
OncoPower serves as a comprehensive source of support for those who have been diagnosed with cancer through the entire cycle of care.
Patients can use the platform to ask specific questions related to their cancer diagnosis, as well as, utilize the resources such as video content, guided meditations, and other tools to assist them on their healing journey.
If you would like to receive additional one on one support, make sure to contact Meditation Teacher and Expert, Natalie Thomas, to assist you in kickstarting your mindfulness journey and combating cancer and stress today. You can also check out our Meditation Suite on the OncoPower App to try our guided meditations.
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.