Look after your body

Keeping up your usual routines might be important to you but it isn't always easy when cancer and treatment can affect your body and skin. Here are some tips to help you deal with these changes so you can keep on feeling like you.

Dental care

One of the more miserable side effects of cancer can be the way it affects what’s going on inside your mouth. If you have pain or ulcers, one of the best things you can do to help is keeping a good oral hygiene routine.

  • Brush gently every morning and night, between meals if possible
  • Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and an interdental brush or floss to get between teeth
  • Tell your dentist about your treatment and if it’s affected your teeth.

Deodorants and antiperspirants

Your skin can become sensitive during treatment, and that includes under your arms! Surely your pits deserve the same TLC as anywhere else.

  • Try gentle scent-free deodorants with natural ingredients when your skin is sensitive
  • Roll-ons are often good as they can be more comfortable to apply than spray
  • Speak to the team at your hospital if you have any questions about these. 

Nails

Brittle and ridged nails can be another effect of chemo. Keep them moisturised and once treatment finishes, your nails should become stronger again. 

  • Try out a simple nail oil or non-perfumed hand cream which can be found in the health and beauty sections of most pharmacies and supermarkets
  • Consider using a water-based polish, or buff them instead for a nice shine
  • Avoid using fake or gel nails during treatment.

Shaving

If shaving is still something you still need to deal with, using a razor blade on sensitive skin isn't ideal, especially as you might be at a greater risk of infection.

  • Electric razors are kinder to skin and can be just as good – check with your care team first
  • Stay away from waxing and hair removal creams
  • Make sure everything you use is clean, your products are gentle, and take your time to avoid nicks and cuts.

Washing and skincare

Cancer treatments can leave your skin more sensitive and sore than usual. Your care team can help with any questions you have, especially if you’re receiving radiotherapy treatment or dealing with skin conditions like acne or eczema. 

  • Try to keep up a good skincare routine and look out for mild or gentle ranges of products such as cleansers, toners and moisturisers – they will still do the job
  • Avoid strong fragrances if you’re feeling nauseous
  • Use sun creams or moisturisers with a high sun protection factor (SPF), and cover up with light, loose-fitting clothing.

Where next?

Created June 2017, next review due June 2018.

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