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Cancer side effects: The simple things that help

Living with cancer? Whether you’re facing treatment or helping a loved one, here’s some simple things you can do to make the fight easier

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It’s a disease that will affect one in two people at some point in their lives.

And going through treatment for cancer is an incredibly emotional time – not just for the person diagnosed but for their loved ones too.

Hair loss as a result of chemotherapy, cancer fatigue and loss of appetite are all common side effects that can take their toll both physically and mentally.

But there are lesser known symptoms of battling the disease that people are sometimes unaware of – such as ‘chemo brain’, painful skin issues, sleep problems, changes to taste buds, as well as the impact on sex lives.

Here, we have teamed up with Live Better With Cancer to reveal the clever products that can make fighting the disease easier for patients and their carers. 

Whether you have been diagnosed with cancer or you’re helping a loved one through their battle, Live Better With Cancer has a host of tips, support and products to make the fight easier

Stay comfortable

Whether you’re spending time in hospital having treatment or surgery, or recovering at home, what you wear is important.

Chemotherapy and radiotherapy can cause hot flashes and irritated skin.

Wearing loose, breathable material made from cotton or bamboo is ideal – as is getting a good night’s sleep.

Bed sheets made from bamboo (£33.99) could help with irritated skin, insomnia and night sweats.

Hospital appointments, treatment and check ups can mean having to remove clothing often, which can be uncomfortable.

This Central Line and Chest Port Access Blouse (£34.99) is made from ultra-soft cotton and features a subtle zip on the right-hand shoulder – ideal for less-intrusive access to your chest port.

Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy can irritate the skin and make it difficult to sleep

Try bras that promote quick healing

After undergoing surgery to remove one or both breasts due to cancer, recovering patients need to wear clothes and underwear for comfortable and quick healing.

This supportive, front-closure bra – Recovery Brobe Bra (£29.99) is specially designed for after surgery and it is made to fit Brobe Ice Packs (£6.99) for pain and swelling relief.

Live Better With Cancer’s Recovery Brobe (£69.99) is the first bra and robe combination designed for breast cancer surgery recovery. As well as practical features – including two pockets to hold post-operative fluid drains – it features a super-comfortable, post-surgery.

After undergoing surgery for breast cancer, patients need to rely on comfortable underwear that is designed to combat swelling and pain

Prepare for hair loss

Losing hair is a common side effect of cancer treatment, especially chemotherapy, as it destroys the follicles.

But there are ways to start preparing for it. As well as talking to family and friends, buy wigs and headwear before your treatment starts, so you can match it to your hair colour and style. 

But most of all you’ll want comfort – and that’s where, surprisingly, a Bamboo hat (£14.99) is a miracle worker. Not only does this amazing material help regulate the temperature, it’s also breathable, draws moisture away from your scalp and is also naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal – and most importantly, incredibly soft to help with skin sensitivity during treatment.

The Ozalys Gentle Shampoo (£15.99) can be used in conjunction with the cap and contains anacryn, a soothing ingredient that brings nutrients back to your hair. The gentle product is also chemical free for sensitive scalps.

The Bamboo Hat (£14.99) is a miracle worker for sensitive heads because the material is breathable, super soft and naturally anti-bacterial

Be kind to your skin

Dryness, scaliness, itchiness and weak fingernails are all debilitating side effects of cancer.

The conditions could be down to the body’s reaction to the disease, or a symptom of treatment, such as chemotherapy.

Help to reduce the irritation by using moisturisers throughout the day – and make sure to buy organic or eco products that aren’t laden with chemicals.

Evaux EvoSkin Moisturising Face Cream (£17.99) is a silicon-enriched cream that restores the water balance of the skin and soothes feelings of irritation.

Ozalys has created a range of beauty products that contain highly soothing, moisturising and protective products.

The Deodorant Cream (£14.99) doesn’t contain aluminium and features natural ingredients to neutralise odours.

Looking after your skin during cancer treatment is paramount – but make sure you aren’t using harsh products that will actually irritate it more

Give your brain a work out

‘Chemo brain’ is the term used to describe the mental ‘fogginess’ experienced by people who have undergone treatment for cancer.

Having difficulty remembering facts or getting confused easily are very common side effects, although scientists still don’t know the exact reason why.

Writing things down and talking to loved ones about it can help – as can keeping the mind active. This is where something like the CanPlan Cancer Planner (£34.99) comes in very handy – both in giving you or your loved ones reminders while also encouraging words of support and positivity.

Meanwhile, The Brain Fitness Workout (£12.99) includes puzzles and brain teasers to keep your mind sharp and active during treatment – and keep ‘Chemo brain’ at bay.

When it comes to keeping organised and on top of ‘Chemo Brain’, the CanPlan Cancer Planner (£34.99) gives you or your loved ones reminders while also encouraging words of support and positivity

Eating a healthy, clean diet can make you feel better during your treatment – but as eating can be difficult due to loss of appetite, it’s worth investing in some meal replacement products

Eat well to feel well

It’s important to eat well with cancer, as it can help at every stage of treatment.

But one of the lesser-known side effects of having treatment for the disease is how it affects not just your appetite, but your taste buds too. 

The Eat Better With Cancer Cookbook – in aid of Marie Curie (£15.99) is a beautiful, 92-page book of healthy, hearty recipes to make you feel stronger – alongside stories of people who have already been through the battle themselves and how these dishes helped them feel better. 

Most people who undergo chemotherapy have to cope with nausea and sickness – but it can also result in mouth sores, ulcers and pain that makes it difficult to eat. These Queasy Drops – Sugar Free (£5.79 for one packet) will help soothe the stomach and manage nausea after treatment. 

When it comes to issues with painful mouths, Live Better With Cancer‘s Rescue Set For Sore and Dry Mouth (£24.99) can help; this is a paste that provides a protective film over ulcers, it contains a mouthwash that relieves dryness.

Having a metallic taste in the mouth is also a side-effect many cancer patients experience – but there are ways to reduce this. Ozalys Essential Care Refreshing Toothpaste with Ginger (£9.99) will gently clean while providing freshness. 

A little help goes a long way: The ultimate present for cancer patients

Live Better With Cancer has taken the stress out of Christmas shopping – with handpicked presents all patients will enjoy.

The Ultimate Christmas Bundle (£79.99) contains high-quality presents anyone going through cancer will be able to enjoy.

As well as an iBeani to help balance a book or a tablet, there’s body balms for aching muscles, and a Canplan, which provides advice and tips to patients as well as carers.

There’s also a fleecy microwavable lavender wheat wrap to help soothe pains, and an unscented lip balm to calm chapped lips.

Meanwhile, a cheery Christmas stocking (£49.99) filled to the brim with helpful goodies such as Peppermint Bath Soak, Sugar Free Queasy Drops, Gel Eye Mask and Sleep Balm will give someone a festive boost.

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