October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: what are the effects of cancer and treatment on the overall health as well as skin.
Breast cancer and its treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, can cause many difficult changes to your body. Your self-esteem is often up for compromise. This is common and understandable. But what can you do to improve your self-esteem while you heal? Continue reading to explore the physical effects of cancer on the skin as well as tips to make you feel a little bit more like you this month. Radiation and chemotherapy are two major influencers on the skin during any cancer treatment. They can often cause major skin problems that need urgent treatment options.
“Radiation therapy can cause the skin on the part of your body receiving radiation therapy to become dry and peel, itch (called pruritus), and turn red or darker. It may look sunburned or tan and be swollen or puffy. [Meanwhile,] Chemotherapy may damage fast growing skin and nail cells. This can cause problems such as skin that is dry, itchy, red, and/or that peels. Some people may develop a rash or sun sensitivity, causing you to sunburn easily. Nail changes may include dark, yellow, or cracked nails and/or cuticles that are red and hurt. Chemotherapy in people who have received radiation therapy in the past can cause the skin to become red, blister, peel, or hurt on the part of the body that received radiation therapy; this is called radiation recall” (Skin and Nail Changes). Depending on the treatments and the side-effects, there are several ways to address the listed skin conditions. For one, using mild soaps can be beneficial to your sensitive skin. Ask your nurse about specific lotions for the dry, itchy, infected or swollen skin. It’s important to use one that specifically is targeted for those with sensitive skin only!
Other tips include:
● shaving less often or stop shaving if your skin is sore
● wearing sunscreen and lip balm along with a loose-fitting long-sleeved shirt, pants, and a hat when outdoors can also be very beneficial.
● avoid products with alcohol or perfume, which can dry or irritate your skin.
● take short showers or baths in lukewarm, not hot, water. Put on lotion after drying off from a shower, while your skin is still slightly damp.
This month, Bellagena Spa would like to celebrate the amazing achievements of breast cancer survivors. We applaud your strength and perseverance. We hope you treat yourself with love and density care. Fight on!
“Skin and Nail Changes.” National Cancer Institute, www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/side-effects/skin-nail-changes.