Book Review: When Cancer Hits- Your Complete Guide to Taking Care of You Through Treatment by Britta Aragon is a wonderful book on how to manage virtually every aspect of cancer care. Certain cosmetic products contain toxins like phenylenediamine in hair dyes, toxic hormonal ingredients in cosmetics and chemical exposures from environmental pollution. The skin is the largest organ in the body. It stretches 20 square feet and weighs just under 10 pounds.
Britta Aragon explains 7 ways to lower toxicities in the body. These include smoking cessation, cleaning molds in the house, purchasing organic produce, limit dry cleaning, read labels on hairsprays and personal care products, look for greener household cleaning products and choose nontoxic bug repellants. Some of these I have utilized myself.
Tips for gentle skin care include using mild soaps, patting with a towel rather than rubbing, use a safe sunscreen like zinc oxide, avoid perfumes, use an electric razor to avoid skin abrasions or cuts, wear loose fitting clothes, apply a non-toxic moisturizer and adding baking soda to the tub to soothe the skin. Chemo slows down the reproduction of skin cells so as skin sheds- little or nothing grows back.
There are safe products to use during treatment for cancer. Examples are saffronrouge.com and Spiritbeautylounge.com. Use fragrance-free skin products or those with natural - source fragrants like fruit extracts. Flouride-free toothpastes and filtered water can be helpful too. Examples of products to avoid are aluminum, hydroquinone, parabens, petrochemicals, phthalates, propylene glycol, synthetic dyes, synthetic fragrances, toluene in some nail polishes and ureas which release formaldehyde. All-cotton tampons are preferred because these are dioxin-free.
Britta Aragon explains a number of strategies to escape from the day-to-day reminder of the cancer, chemotherapy and other uncomfortable treatment protocols. These strategies include keeping a diary, support group discussion forums, exercise, hobbies, music, dance, deep breathing, meditation and volunteering. An aggressive cancer can bring on the classic life or death struggle and the ultimate goal is to find effective coping strategies, facilitative companionship and other accomodation modes. These strategies would be helpful given any chronic disease or condition.
Natural oils are good for dry skin. Examples are olive, almond or sesame. Oatmeal blended with water may reduce itchness. Itchy areas may be massaged with an ice cube. Rubbing the inside of an avocado on the face, drying for 15 minutes and rinsing may help alleviate dryness too. To avoid contaminants, dispose old makeup, lip pencils, eye shadows, eye powders or any product that changes color, texture or smell.
Take a water bottle wherever you go and have plenty of Vitamins like A,B,C and E. Vitamin A helps to heal epithelial skin tissues. B vitamins enhance healthy functioning of oil-producing glands. Vitamin C supports collagen formation. Vitamin E helps to slow premature skin aging. Antioxidants like strawberries, kale, squash and spinach fight free radical damage. Vitamin E cream is a good healing moisture. These vitamin strategies are good health tonics in any event.
Modalities to reduce injection site pains include applying ice or cold compresses. A PICC line, tunneled catherer or port-a cath may be used to reduce the risks of injection site traumas. Clinical malnourishment can delay healing so diet is important. There are drugs and artificial saliva products to combat dryness in the mouth. Also, carry bottled water at all times. Suck on sugar-free candies, ice chips and sugarless gums to stimulate saliva flow. Consuming more Omega 3 foods helps to combat dry-eye syndrome. Vitamins B,C, E and Omega 3 oils help to combat joint pain. Rubbing painful areas with arthcare oil reduces pain due to the power of antioxidants. Boswelia has shown some promise in scientific studies. Tumeric may help as a food additive. Cutting back on sugar, red meat and dairy products may also reduce joint pain. The services of an experienced physical therapist and nutritionist may help too.
Alternative therapies include acupuncture, massage, yoga, reiki and a healing trip to the spa. Reflexology, foot rubs and hand rubs may be beneficial too. Reiki aims at realignment of skewed energy centers. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is funding research on the efficacy of Reiki on cancer-related side effects. Reiki energy is directed through the palms of the hands to a patient over a half hour or more period.
There are ways to make movement easier. Purchase easy to open bottles and containers. Utilize a cane, if necessary. Wear zip up or velcro rather than button shirts and clothing. Get custom made orthotics for shoes. Install a grab bar in the shower to enhance balance while standing.
There are foods for healthy hair like Omega 3 fatty acids in salmon, almonds and flaxseed. Protein can be found in beans, white meats and vegetables. Calcium is critical for hair growth. Low iron levels can lead to hair loss. Coconut is considered an excellent hair food. Zinc is critical for retaining strong hair strands. The zinc may be found in nuts, beef and lamb. Spices like cumin and tumeric are hair friendly. Alfalfa juice and carrots can help to nourish hair roots.
When Cancer hits contains excellent references and information sources like European Journal of Oncology Nursing, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Journal of Advanced Nursing, Environmental Working Group, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, International Journal of Cancer, Environmental Health Perspectives and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Always discuss treatment modalities with physicians and other health care providers assuming responsibility for your diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care. When Cancer Hits is an excellent medical reference - if it ever hits you or the family.
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When Cancer Hits is your complete guide to navigating all the changes you ll experience between the doctor s office and everyday living. Whether your future includes surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy, you ll need to know how to best manage your side effects, stress, and home recovery and how to sustain positive energy during treatment and beyond.