Please note this site does not provide medical advice.  These are purely hints, tips and advice from an individual.

About the Site

 

Cancer is a horrendous disease.  It can take over everything. Don't let it.

This site is designed for women going through breast cancer. It contains  practical hints, tips and things to get to make treatment and recovery more bearable.

Everyone is different - this includes treatment, side effects, response and feelings!  

I didn't want to give the Big C the time of day.  I wanted to carry on as normal. The products recommended on this site allowed me to do that as much as possible.  They allowed me to "smash it", as does everyone else who has cancer. 

Keep positive.

General tips

Do not google!

The internet contains mostly bad news...the exceptions; that is why it is on the internet. Get a friend to research anything you want or ask your doctors. There is no point stressing unnecessarily.

Plan Stuff

Have things planned during your treatment - have things to look forward to.  Keep a diary of your side effects so you know when you're at your best...so there is no excuse. Keep living life.

Diet & Exercise

They say a Mediterranean diet is best but eat what you fancy during treatment...it is tough enough!  Exercise though - it will help with everything...tiredness, energy, well being.

Supplements

I decided to take: Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Calcium, Sage, Chlorella, Curcumin, Korean Ginseng, Omega 3, Vitamin B Complex.  I also decided to have a smoothie every day with fruit & veg, flak & acia seeds.

chemo

This is specific advice for those who are receiving FEC, Dosataxyl and Capecitabine.  It provides practical advice on how to deal with the side effects of the treatment:

FEC:

  • Get some queasy sweets to suck on

  • Get some prune juice and have a couple of mouthfuls every morning for 4 days post treatment...it will keep everything regular!

  • Don't eat anything during FEC...you won't want it afterwards.  Keep to water and drink loads...you want all the drugs out of your system

  • Ginger beer helps settle the stomach. You may feel sick. Eating little and often helps.

  • Get some ibuprofen gel for your back, as this may get sore

  • Week 1 is the worst - you will feel tired and sick and achy.  Week 2 and 3 you will start to feel normal again

  • You may lose your hair - up to you what you do. I chose Meshkati (chemosoft) as I didn't want to "remove" my hair.  It is very expensive but worth it.

  • "Trust Organic Skin Care" is brilliant - gentle and soothing (in particular the "Creamy Cleanser", "5 Serum Oil" and "Face Moisturiser", which you can source from "Not another bunch of flowers"

  • Get a soft toothbrush. Your gums may bleed. Also get some of this toothpaste which is gentle. Also go to the Hygientist before chemo and get your teeth and gums in good shape before you start treatment.

  • This may preserve your eyelashes and eyebrows: "Eyebrow Lipocils Expert" and "My Lash".

  • You can get some great fake eyebrows. They stick on using glue you use for fake eye lashes.  It may be difficult for you to have fake eyelashes on dosataxyl. Dark eyeliner around the eyes are just as good.

  • If you are "forced" into a menopause, get a good fan...you'll want it for the night.  Get a hand fan for the day for hot flushes.

  • Have a hot water bottle for your arm...to help the nurses find those veins.  As it will get more difficult.

Dosataxyl:

  • I personally found FEC a breeze compared to Dosataxyl, but everyone is different.  It may also depend on the order. I started with FEC and finished with Dosataxyl.  

  • Oral thrush was one of the worst side effects.  It came on in day 4 or 5 after treatment.  Get your oncologist to prescribe Thrush tablets (you can also just get these from the chemist - Canesten is fine. I took them on day 2 of my treatment, until the thrush went. I still got thrush and I won't know if it would have been worse after if I hadn't taken those tablets. Also gargle with salt water 4 times a day and use Corsodyl. It will last about 5 days. It does get better. Eat little and often - tomato soup was soothing. You won't taste much and the joy goes out of eating.  But it won't last.

  • I got watery eyes which got progressively worse. I used eye drops regularly - try Optrex.  Again I won't know what it would have been like without the drops.  I took them and still got watery eyes but it could have been worse.  This was one of the last side effects to go. 

  • Take Paracetemol and ibuprofen regularly - alternate between the two. It helps.  You will ache and the pain relief makes it so much better.

  • I found week 2 and 3 are worse. Week 1 is ok. In terms of planning things.

  • Tiredness was much worse with Dosataxyl.  Try taking Berocca every day.

  • Keep your nails short - there is now a risk you may lose them.  Use Vitamin E on your nails, keep them short and cover them with dark nail polish (which helps with the pain...as exposure to the light will make them painful).  Don't use a buffer.

  • You will be on a lot of steroids...which will make you puff up.  Try taking herbal water retention tablets.

  • Take Vitamin B complex to encourage hair growth.

  • Sleep on towels, especially for the first 5 nights.  It will help with the sweats at night.

  • Take Piriton to help with some of the side effects. I used to take mine in the night to avoid feeling even more drowsy and tired during the day.

  • Get a nose warmer - I used to get a cold nose but my body was warm and it was a horrible sensation. 

Capecitabine:

  • Udderly Smooth moisturising cream really helped with my sore hands and feet.  They will be sore, dry and feel like they have been burnt.

  • Tiredness is always a factor.  At this point I increased the exercise to get some energy back.  There is a need to break to vicious cycle of tiredness and no energy

  • You may get an upset stomach so it is worth getting some Gaviscon and Immodium.

Radiotherapy

Moisturise the whole area...this includes under your arm and on your bra line.

Use E45 and Aloe Vera - Mix them together and keep them in the fridge. 

Apply many times a day!

Take piriton for the itching.  Take pain killers as the area will get so sore.

Make sure you get some good dressings and wear loose clothes.  Don't wear a bra!

You will get tired and sore.  I found swimming really helped, which you can do up to the point the skin breaks.

You can wear deodorant. Try Simple roll on.

mastectomy

I was pleasantly surprised by the impact of my operation and there is nice underwear and swimwear out there.

Try:

- Amoena for underwear and swimwear

- Cucumber Clothing for nightwear

- A long pillow for support if you sleep on your side

Do your exercises and physio after the operation.  It will make a difference.

If you have had your lymph nodes removed, get one of these bracelets, to warn against Lymphedema

You will probably need a drain for a week after the operation.  And you may need your wound drained once or twice afterwards to remove the fluid.  The fluid does go.

 
 
 
 

contact

Get in touch if you have any queries, worries, concerns or just need some practical advice.

Wessex Cancer Trust

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