Better Skincare During Cancer Treatment

Looking your best can have you really feeling your best — and that’s particularly important for cancer patients. We all know how satisfying it is when our skin is smooth, our nails buffed and polished, and our hair perfectly styled but for those undergoing treatment for cancer, finding that fulfillment can be especially hard. Many patients encounter challenges and changes to skincare during chemo and other therapies to treat cancer. As the treatments attack and kill cancer cells, they are also affecting skin cells, the body’s first and most visible line of defense against the outside world. Rashes, dry and brittle nails, and itching skin are all common impacts on skincare during cancer treatments, along with the more well-known side effect of hair loss in chemo patients. In a way, changing skin health can be a good thing, as it signifies cellular changes, suggesting a treatment is heading in the right direction; however, for patients who are already battling serious side effects, disruptions to their lives and financial stress, having another thing to worry about will seem like anything but positive news. And while effects on skin health may seem a nuisance in the grand scheme of obstacles that cancer patients are facing, dry, cracked skin can be extremely painful as well as put patients at further risk of infection, meaning it’s important that they take skincare during cancer treatments seriously. There are ways that patients can promote skin health — before, during and after treatment. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center advises patients to begin a skincare regimen about one week before undergoing chemotherapy. The facility suggests using fragrance-free products, such...

5 Common Types of Cancer Treatment

Exploring the many different types of cancer treatment that are available may seem overwhelming to many patients. Each patient’s individual diagnosis and prognosis should dictate the course of treatment, as no two cancers are exactly alike and need unique approaches to ensure the optimal chance for success. There are pros and cons to all of the treatments, such as recovery time and side effects, which patients should review with their team of oncologists to determine which treatment may be best. No matter the course that is decided, patients should also explore options for financial assistance, such as Life Credit’s Living Benefit Loan program, through which they can borrow against their life insurance to pay for lifesaving care. Determining the best course of action can be challenging, but paying for it shouldn’t be. So review these top five most common types of cancer treatment and then make a plan to get back on the path to health: Surgery: This option is most often used for cancers that have not spread and are localized. Skilled surgeons will remove the tumor in either open or minimally invasive surgery. The patient may be cleared following surgery or could need additional treatments. Radiology: Some patients will utilize radiation therapy to attack and kill cancer cells. This is a more prolonged treatment than surgery but is often very effective. Depending on their case, patients may undergo external beam radiation therapy in which a machine directs the radiation into the body, or internal radiation, in which the person ingests a pill or liquid form of radiation. Chemotherapy: This is one of the most known treatments because...

How to Choose a Cancer Treatment Center

A cancer diagnosis brings with it a seemingly endless list of questions: which treatment to pursue, how to get financial assistance for cancer patients, how to continue to manage daily responsibilities and countless other concerns. Before getting to those details, however, patients need to find a cancer treatment center and assemble a team of qualified experts. According to the American Cancer Society, selecting who will deliver the care is perhaps the most important decision cancer patients will make in their journey. ACS offers a number of tips for those exploring how to find a cancer treatment center that is well-versed in their particular diagnosis. ACS advises that one of the best places to start is with the physician who diagnosed the cancer, as he or she may have experience with particular centers or hospitals that would be a good match. Even if the physician offers a suggestion, it’s important to consider several options in the quest to find a cancer treatment center. Patients should determine which facilities have specific experience with the kind of cancer they’re facing and meet in person with the team of specialists to have all of their questions answered upfront. Beyond experience, consider location, travel time and availability of clinical trials. There are also certain standards that patients may want to ensure their top choices meet. The Joint Commission, for instance, has a thorough accreditation process that cancer facilities must meet. Those looking to find a cancer treatment center will want to make sure their potential picks meet the minimum accreditation threshold. The Commission on Cancer also has a comprehensive list of 1,500 cancer centers...

Planning for Chemotherapy Treatments

Chemotherapy is a common treatment for cancer that sets many patients back on the road to recovery. However, starting chemo can throw a patient’s life into a bit of disarray, as he or she needs to adjust to new schedules, unpleasant side effects, and stressful financial obligations. Having a cancer care plan in place can help patients to face those challenges head-on. Assemble Your Team One of the first steps to consider is selecting an oncologist and a cancer care team. Research extensively and meet in person with the doctors to ensure a good fit. Next, compile questions to ask your oncologist, such as expected timeframes, the ins and out of the chemotherapy process and the cost of chemotherapy. From there, patients and their families can begin to prepare themselves and their lives for this new chapter. Prepare for Side Effects One of the questions for the oncologist should be, what are the side effects of chemotherapy? The treatment affects all patients differently, but common side effects include extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting, hair loss, appetite changes, anemia, and others. Learn about what may be coming down the pike before ever starting treatment so you feel prepared both physically and mentally. Knowing the potential side effects of chemotherapy can also help patients to curb some of them. Meal planning or chemotherapy patients, for instance, can help patients lessen some of the treatment effects while promoting good nutrition. Several small meals per day, instead of a few large ones, can minimize nausea while ensuring patients are fortifying their systems. Get Help with Finances The cost of chemotherapy is another potential complication...

How to Support Employees with Cancer

While it’s common for family, friends and loved ones to step up and lend a helping hand when a person is battling cancer, there’s another area where assistance may be just as vital, but perhaps less available: at the office. Workplace support for employees with cancer can come in many forms — from policies and procedures that make easing back into the job a bit easier, to informal help from co-workers eager to make the daily grind a little less difficult. Both employers and employees can take steps to make sure workplace support for employees with cancer is available and being put to use. For the Employer A new guide from the National Business Group on Health and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network outlines steps employers can take to offer workplace support for employees with cancer. Key among them are providing short-term disability for cancer treatment, along with disability case managers to walk patients through the ins and outs. The guide also suggests employers put in place an Employee Assistance Program and return-to-work strategies that involve case managers, HR leaders, and the worker’s supervisor to ensure a smooth and sensitive transition. For the Employee It’s also important to be proactive about seeking workplace support for employees with cancer. Cancer.net points out that there are three steps involved in a successful return to work: preparation, adjusting physically and adjusting mentally. Cancer patients should understand the parameters of policies like FMLA and short-term disability for cancer treatments and ensure they’re taking maximum advantage of leave and other benefits available to them. When a doctor approves, contact the company and request a...