Thursday, June 28, 2018

What to bring to the hospital...

After being diagnosed with cancer can be a crazy time in any persons life. Especially if you are about to have a hospital stay in the near future. What do I bring,  you may ask yourself. What does a cancer patient really need in the hospital?? This post may also help if you want to send a care package to a loved one in the hospital as well! 









The basics that will make your hospital stay easier for you. 

Reading Material

This could be a book of poetry, an absorbing novel, a prayer book, magazines, or some other reading material – and it doesn’t have to be related to cancer. Think of this time as an opportunity to read that book that you didn’t have time for before.
MusicLoad up your phone or iPod with your favorite music or download your favorite music streaming app, plug in your earbuds and lose yourself in the music. You may want to download a meditation or guided imagery CD. Some cancer centers have a music therapy program which provides an opportunity for distraction, self-expression, comfort, and support.
GamesFind some fun game apps, download them to your tablet and bring your device. Many chemotherapy centers have wireless internet access, which allows you lots of time to sharpen your solitaire or Candy Crush skills. Or bring a board game like Scrabble to play with a friend or family member.
Comfortable clothesMore than likely, you will be able to stay in the clothing you wear to the appointment. Think about wearing comfortable clothes, such as sweats or yoga pants. Also consider bringing a warm hat, or a cardigan or zip-up hoodie sweatshirt to slip on to keep your head warm. Sometime the infusion medicines can make you feel chilly. And you can never predict the temperature of the infusion room. Remember to wear layers of clothing that you can put on and take off and make sure they provide easy access to your port or your arm for the infusion.
Pillow or blanketBring a small blanket or a special pillow. Then when you feel like resting you can be surrounded by things that bring you comfort. You can also ask your nurse for a warm blanket.

Writing or drawing materials

Some people use this quiet time to journal or write letters. Another similar relaxation is coloring. Bring your colored pencils or your markers and use the time to relax with your favorite coloring book. Other writing distractions include crosswords, Sudoku or word search puzzles. Or use the time to balance your check book, pay bills, write emails and organize your to-do list. This may be a good time to make a list of things your caregiver can do to help.
Movies
Ask your nurse if the chemotherapy suites have a television with a DVD player. Bring your favorite movies or ask if they have movies on DVD so you can watch something new.

Hobby materials

Take advantage of the mostly uninterrupted time to make a serious dent in your knitting, crocheting, beading or quilting project. Using your hands is a good way to keep them warm during infusions. Some cancer centers also have an art therapy program, which can improve emotional and physical healing.
BeveragesIt’s important to stay hydrated during chemotherapy. Your infusion center may provide beverages, but this is a way to make sure you have something that you enjoy drinking. There are many things other than water; such as Gatorade, Crystal Light, and decaffeinated teas.

Snacks
Eating adequate amounts of calories and protein also is important during chemotherapy. While the cancer center may have light snacks such as soup or crackers, you may want to bring something that you particularly like. Hard candy, lemon drops or ginger candy can help to get rid of the metallic taste that some people develop or reduce nausea.


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

cancer confessions...


I feel that when we are diagnosed with cancer we keep a lot of our fear to our selves. Whether you are a patient, a care giver, a survivor, or a family member of a loved one going through the battle, it is not easy. It's not easy to tell anyone how you are feeling. ( you don't want to be judged or seen as weak or cry because that's not showing support) This video Is for you!!! These are caner confessions from people all over the world who felt the need to share there emotions. I just simply comprised it into a video for you to watch. 

You are not alone in your feelings. 
I hope you enjoy!


Thursday, June 14, 2018

This one's for the girls...

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How Does Chemotherapy Influence the Onset of Menopause? Web Source


  • During chemotherapy, women may have irregular menstrual cycles or amenorrhea (disappearance of menstrual periods).  Some medications used in chemotherapy may also cause damage to the ovaries, resulting in menopausal symptoms or menopause.  
  • Menopause may be immediate or delayed, permanent or temporary when triggered by chemotherapy.  
  • There is no way to accurately determine how or when chemotherapy or other cancer treatments will affect your menstrual cycle.  
  • Menopause is rarely a sudden response to chemotherapy.  When chemotherapy treatments begin, you may notice some menopausal symptoms, but usually the symptoms are delayed for several months after treatment is started.  This is natural. 
  • Menopausal symptoms may last for years after treatment is completed. 
Will my menstrual flow be different after chemotherapy?
Menstrual cycles vary from woman to woman.  Some women may experience less frequent cycles than they had prior to chemotherapy.  They may skip a period or increase the number of days between periods.  Other women may have more frequent periods.  Some women may not experience a change in the length of their menstrual cycles but the flow pattern may be different than it was before treatment (the number of days or amount of flow may diminish or the flow may be heavier).  Mixed patterns are also common: some women may have shorter menstrual cycles with heavier bleeding or infrequent cycles with many days of a very high flow. 
Even though periods tend to be irregular around the time of menopause, it is important to be aware of bleeding that is not normal for you.  It is very important to call your physician if you ever have very heavy bleeding that is associated with weakness or dizziness.
Will my periods return after chemotherapy?
  • Many pre-menopausal women retain or recover ovarian function and their periods return after treatment is completed.  
  • Return of ovarian function may depend on the woman's age prior to treatment and the type of medication she received during treatment.
Can I get pregnant while I'm receiving chemotherapy?
Yes, There is always a chance that you can get pregnant as long as you are menstruating.  While on chemotherapy, your menstrual cycle may become irregular.  As a result, you may never quite be sure where you are in your menstrual cycle and your period may take you by surprise.  Some of your menstrual cycles may be non-egg producing, but you can not rely on this.  Even if your periods seem to have stopped, you should use a safe and effective method of birth control for at least 4 to 8 weeks after your chemotherapy treatment has ended. 
What is the safest type of birth control during chemotherapy? 
Irregular menstruation or the disappearance of menstrual periods may persist for years after chemotherapy, making an effective and safe contraception (birth control) method necessary.  Guidelines for young women undergoing chemotherapy at many cancer centers include the use of barrier contraceptives such as a diaphragm or a condom.  Oral Contraceptives (birth control pills) may be acceptable for some women but may not be recommended for women with breast cancer.
What happens if I get pregnant while receiving chemotherapy?
Although this is extremely rare, an unplanned pregnancy while receiving chemotherapy could result in a complicated pregnancy.  The treatment could also cause negative effects on your baby's development.  A safe method of birth control must always be used while receiving chemotherapy.
If you think you might be pregnant, it is important to tell your physician right away so those steps can be taken to ensure the health of you and your baby.
After I've completed chemotherapy, how long must I wait before trying to get pregnant?
Pregnancies after chemotherapy are not uncommon, but need to be planned after the completion of your treatment.  Consult your oncology physician to discuss your plans to get pregnant once your treatment is over.  In many cases, pregnancy will not influence the return of cancer.  There are situations in which pregnancy should be considered with caution.
Are there risks of chromosomal abnormalities or cancer in children conceived after chemotherapy? 
No.  There is no known risk of chromosomal abnormalities in a woman's children after she has had chemotherapy.  There is also no evidence that cancer treatment causes cancer in children conceived after the treatment is complete. 

Symptoms of Menopause:

The most common symptoms of menopause are hot flashes, emotional changes, changes in the vagina, sexuality changes and weight gain
What are hot flashes?
Hot flashes are the most frequent symptoms of menopause.  A hot flash is a momentary sensation of heat, which may be accompanied by a red, flushed face and sweating.  The cause of hot flashes is not known, but may be related to vascular instability.  Studies show that hot flashes vary among women.  Hot flashes may be precipitated by: psychological stress, hot weather, caffeine, spicy foods, or alcohol.
How long will I have hot flashes?
The severity and duration of hot flashes varies among women.  Some women have hot flashes for a very short time during menopause.  Other women may have hot flashes, at least to some degree, for life.  Generally, hot flashes are less frequent and less severe as time passes. 
How can hot flashes be managed?
The most effective way to manage hot flashes is through hormone replacement therapy.  There is much debate over whether estrogen should be prescribed when a woman is being treated for breast or endometrial cancer.  There is also controversy over the benefits versus risk of hormone replacement therapy for women using regimens containing progesterone.  It is best to ask your physician if hormone replacement therapy is the right treatment for you. 
There are a number of nonhormonal medications available for the treatment of hot flashes. Their goal is not to eliminate hot flashes altogether but to diminish their intensity and frequency. Vitamin E 800IU daily, Vitamin B6 200mg daily or Peridin-C 2 tablets 3 times a day, are over the counter agents that may be of help.
There has been some research with the use of the medications; venlafaxine (effexor) an anti-depressant, bellergal and clonidine, for treatment of hot flashes, these would need to be prescribed by your physician.
The medical community is only beginning to study the properties of soy. It works in a variety of ways. In some organs it acts like an estrogen and in others it blocks estrogen. It also has many effects other than hormonal ones. Overall the data on soy are good, and it's probably safe for women with breast cancer, but the final answers aren't in yet. Moderation is the key, one serving of soy a day (40 grams) is probably OK.
Black cohosh has been used but because of some of its estrogen-like properties it's use in patients with breast cancer is controversial.
It is important to talk to your physician before you take any medications or supplements, to be sure there is no contraindication of any of these treatments in your individual situation.
What are emotional changes?
Menopause may cause emotional changes such as:
  • Energy loss
  • Lack of motivation
  • Irritability
  • Aggressiveness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Nervous exhaustion
  • Mood changes
  • Tension
Emotional changes are more difficult to associate with menopause because they commonly occur in other situations.  In addition, cancer and its treatment can contribute to emotional changes. 
Other possible causes of emotional changes include your work or home environment, life events, aging, psychiatric disorders (anxiety and depression) and some medications.  These other possible causes make it difficult to attribute emotional changes exclusively to low hormone levels as a result of menopause. 
How can emotional changes be managed? 
Management of emotional changes is difficult since there may be many different influencing factors.  Hormone (estrogen) replacement therapy has had variable results in controlling emotional changes.  Ask your physician if hormone replacement therapy is the right treatment for you.
Sometimes, just knowing emotional changes are normal may make them easier to cope with.  Other ways to manage emotional changes include support groups and counseling.  Occasionally, medications such as antidepressants may be recommended. 
What are some vaginal changes I might experience during menopause?
Low estrogen levels during menopause can cause vaginal dryness, which may result in painful sexual intercourse or decreased sex drive. 
Sometimes menopause can cause thinning of the vaginal lining, resulting in vaginal "shrinkage." This is usually a late effect of menopause, but it can happen at any time.  Ask your physician if estrogen cream or a vaginal dilator is the appropriate treatment for you. 
What can I do to treat vaginal dryness?
Vaginal dryness can be treated with water-soluble lubricants such as Astroglide or K-Y Jelly.  Do not use non-water soluble lubricants such as Vaseline because they can weaken latex (the material used to make condoms).  Non-water soluble lubricants can also provide a medium for bacterial growth, particularly in a person whose immune system has been weakened by chemotherapy. 
What can I do to treat decreased sex drive?
Menopause should not necessarily affect a woman's ability to enjoy sex.  Some studies suggest that decreased sex drive (libido) is most often related to painful intercourse caused by vaginal dryness.  Therefore, treating vaginal dryness may be helpful.
It is important to note that active cancer therapy or the diagnosis of cancer can also affect your sex drive. 
Treating a decreased sex drive may be accomplished with hormone replacement therapy and/or counselors*.  Ask your physician if hormone replacement therapy is the right treatment for you. 
  • Counselors are available to help work through problems with sexuality related to cancer therapy. 
What can be done about weight gain? 
The best remedies for weight gain are watching your diet and increasing your physical activity.  If you would like more information about how to maintain proper eating habits, you may wish to seek the advice of a registered dietician.
Will my voice change during menopause? 
Probably not.  Most women do not experience a voice change during menopause. 

Other Changes Associated with Menopause:

Other changes, which may be associated with menopause, include increase in facial hair growth, osteoporosis and heart disease. 
What can be done about increased facial hair?
Many women do not experience any additional facial hair growth.  If facial hair growth becomes a problem for you, waxing or other hair removers (called depilatories) may be options. 
Be sure to consult with your physician and beautician to make sure the hair remover you choose will not harm your skin. 
What is osteoporosis? 
Osteoporosis is a decrease in bone mass resulting in thinner, more porous bone.  Osteoporosis can lead to a higher risk of fractures or broken bones.  Although osteoporosis is not a symptom of menopause, low estrogen levels during menopause have been associated with a reduction in bone mass.  Not all women will experience osteoporosis - it is a condition that is also related to aging and heredity. 
What can be done to prevent or manage osteoporosis?
Nutrition (especially calcium intake), increased physical activity and hormones (estrogen) are three factors that improve bone health.  It is important to limit caffeine, tobacco, alcohol and carbonated beverages since these substances may reduce bone mass. 
Hormone (estrogen) replacement therapy increases bone mass but must be prescribed by your physician.  Tamoxifen, a drug used to treat estrogen-sensitive tumors, has been helpful in reducing osteoporosis.  Raloxifene may also be used to treat osteoporodis.  Other drugs you can ask your physician about include calcitonin and etidronate. 
How is heart disease associated with menopause?
Heart disease becomes more of a risk for women after menopause because of the reduced level of estrogen.  It was once believed that estrogen (through hormone replacement therapy) reduced the risk of heart disease.  However, recent studies suggest that estrogen (through hormone replacement therapy) may have no effect on the risk of heart disease in women.  Of course, exercise and not smoking will also reduce your risk of heart disease. 
Tamoxifen, a drug used to treat breast cancers, has also shown some benefit in reducing the risk of heart disease.  If your cholesterol is high, a low-cholesterol diet will help reduce your risk of heart disease or medication may be required. 
If you have a personal or family history of heart disease, you should inform your physician. 

When to Contact Your Doctor or Health Care Provider:

You should always keep your health care provider informed about of how you are feeling. 

Note: We strongly encourage you to talk with your health care professional about your specific medical condition and treatments. The information contained in this website is meant to be helpful and educational, but is not a substitute for medical advice.

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Effects of Early Menopause Web Source

Early menopause due to cancer treatment can feel shattering physically and emotionally, partly because it is a shock. A sudden menopause can cause more severe symptoms than a natural menopause. The symptoms will pass, but it can take a couple of years.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) helps to relieve symptoms for many women who are able to take it. HRT means taking a tablet form of female sex hormones to replace the hormones that your body used to produce naturally.
HRT is not suitable after some types of cancer, such as breast cancer. Talk to your doctor about whether you can take HRT. They can tell you about other ways of reducing menopausal symptoms if HRT is not suitable for you.
The biggest effect of the menopause is that you can no longer become pregnant and have a baby. This is because you no longer produce an egg from your ovaries each month. This loss of fertility can be upsetting even if you have a family or did not intend to have children. 

Image result for menopause and chemo
Most women affected by early menopause know it's coming: Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and an oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries) are all common causes. But it can also be due to lifestyle, environmental, and genetic factors. And even though only 1% of women hit menopause before 40, the factors behind an early change also affect the risk for a handful of illnesses and diseases.
Check out these 7 things early menopause can mean for your health: Web Source
1. You have a lower risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
2. You're aging faster.
3. You may have been exposed to toxins.
4. It might not be early menopause—and you could still get pregnant.
5. You have an increased risk of heart disease.
6. You're at a higher risk for bone fractures for a longer time.
7. You have an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, and cancer.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, about 1 in 1,000 women ages 15 to 29 and 1 in 100 women between the ages of 30 and 39 experience early menopause.

Image result for perimeopause chemo\  Image result for perimeopause chemo\



Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Your not the only one that has ANXIETY...

 I know that I have posted about this before but it's a very important topic to us. Anxiety is often looked over by doctors because patients don't always tell their doctors how they are feeling with the fear of being put into a category or having the stigma attached to mental health somehow affect them.  The truth is, you are only harming yourself by not being truthful with your healthcare providers.


Anxiety is a normal reaction to cancer . One may experience anxiety while undergoing a cancer screening test, waiting for test results, receiving a diagnosis of cancer, undergoing cancer treatment, or anticipating a recurrence of cancer. Anxiety associated with cancer may increase feelings of pain, interfere with one's ability to sleep, cause nausea and vomiting, and interfere with the patient's (and his or her family's) quality of life. If left untreated, severe anxiety may even shorten a patient's life. Web Source
Persons with cancer will find that their feelings of anxiety increase or decrease at different times. A patient may become more anxious as cancer spreads or treatment becomes more intense. The level of anxiety experienced by one person with cancer may differ from the anxiety experienced by another person. Most patients are able to reduce their anxiety by learning more about their cancer and the treatment they can expect to receive. For some patients, particularly those who have experienced episodes of intense anxiety before their cancer diagnosis, feelings of anxiety may become overwhelming and interfere with cancer treatment. Most patients who have not had an anxiety condition before their cancer diagnosis will not develop an anxiety disorder associated with cancer.
Intense anxiety associated with cancer treatment is more likely to occur in patients with a history of anxiety disorders and patients who are experiencing anxiety at the time of diagnosis. Anxiety may also be experienced by patients who are in severe pain, are disabled, have few friends or family members to care for them, have cancer that is not responding to treatment, or have a history of severe physical or emotional trauma. Central nervous system metastases and tumors in the lungs may create physical problems that cause anxiety. Many cancer medications and treatments can aggravate feelings of anxiety.
Contrary to what one might expect, patients with advanced cancer experience anxiety due not to fear of death, but more often from fear of uncontrolled pain, being left alone, or dependency on others. Many of these factors can be alleviated with treatment.
Description and Cause
Some persons may have already experienced intense anxiety in their life because of situations unrelated to their cancer. These anxiety conditions may recur or become aggravated by the stress of a cancer diagnosis. Patients may experience extreme fear, be unable to absorb information given to them by caregivers, or be unable to follow through with treatment. In order to plan treatment for a patient's anxiety, a doctor may ask the following questions about the patient's symptoms:
  • Have you had any of the following symptoms since your cancer diagnosis or treatment? When do these symptoms occur (i.e., how many days prior to treatment, at night, or at no specific time) and how long do they last?
  • Do you feel shaky, jittery, or nervous?
  • Have you felt tense, fearful, or apprehensive?
  • Have you had to avoid certain places or activities because of fear?
  • Have you felt your heart pounding or racing?
  • Have you had trouble catching your breath when nervous?
  • Have you had any unjustified sweating or trembling?
  • Have you felt a knot in your stomach?
  • Have you felt like you have a lump in your throat?
  • Do you find yourself pacing?
  • Are you afraid to close your eyes at night for fear that you may die in your sleep?
  • Do you worry about the next diagnostic test, or the results of it, weeks in advance?
  • Have you suddenly had a fear of losing control or going crazy?
  • Have you suddenly had a fear of dying?
  • Do you often worry about when your pain will return and how bad it will get?
  • Do you worry about whether you will be able to get your next dose of pain medication on time?
  • Do you spend more time in bed than you should because you are afraid that the pain will intensify if you stand up or move about?
  • Have you been confused or disoriented lately?
Anxiety disorders includes adjustment disorder, panic disorder, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and anxiety disorder caused by other general medical conditions.
Treatment
It may be difficult to distinguish between normal fears associated with cancer and abnormally severe fears that can be classified as an anxiety disorder. Treatment depends on how the anxiety is affecting daily life for the patient. Anxiety that is caused by pain or another medical condition, a specific type of tumor, or as a side-effect of medication, is usually controlled by treating the underlying cause.
Treatment for anxiety begins by giving the patient adequate information and support. Developing coping strategies such as the patient viewing his or her cancer from the perspective of a problem to be solved, obtaining enough information in order to fully understand his or her disease and treatment options, and utilizing available resources and support systems, can help to relieve anxiety. Patients may benefit from other treatment options for anxiety, including: psychotherapy, group therapy, family therapy, participating in self-help groups, hypnosis, and relaxation techniques such as guided imagery (a form of focused concentration on mental images to assist in stress management), or biofeedback. Medications may be used alone or in combination with these techniques. Patients should not avoid anxiety-relieving medications for fear of becoming addicted. Their doctors will give them sufficient medication to alleviate the symptoms and decrease the amount of the drug as the symptoms diminish.
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Post-treatment Considerations
After cancer therapy has been completed, a cancer survivor may be faced with new anxieties. Survivors may experience anxiety when they return to work and are asked about their cancer experience, or when confronted with insurance-related problems. A survivor may fear subsequent follow-up examinations and diagnostic tests, or they may fear a recurrence of cancer. Survivors may experience anxiety due to changes in body image, sexual dysfunction, reproductive issues, or post-traumatic stress. Survivorship programs, support groups, counseling, and other resources are available to help people readjust to life after cancer.
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For more information, please visit the Cancer Center.



 Depression affects all ages but does under the radar with teens. It is very important support these adolescents. 


“Anxiety is a persistent problem long after the cancer has been diagnosed,” said Dr. Alex J. Mitchell, the lead author of the study, which appeared in The Lancet Oncology, and a senior lecturer in psycho-oncology at the University of Leicester in England. Psycho-oncologists, often based at cancer centers, look at the psychological and social effects of cancer on patients during and after treatment. Web Source

Please speak with a health care provider if you are in need of any help. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

what the HAIR??

Chemotherapy drugs are powerful medications that attack rapidly growing cancer cells. Unfortunately, these drugs also attack other rapidly growing cells in your body — including those in your hair roots. Chemotherapy may cause hair loss all over yourbody — not just on your scalp.  Web Source


 Sometimes your eyelash, eyebrow, armpit, pubic and other body hair also falls out. Some chemotherapy drugs are more likely than others to cause hair loss, and different doses can cause anything from a mere thinning to complete baldness. 

What should you expect?  (Web Source)


Hair usually begins falling out two to four weeks after you start treatment. It could fall out very quickly in clumps or gradually. You'll likely notice accumulations of loose hair on your pillow, in your hairbrush or comb, or in your sink or shower drain. Your scalp may feel tender. Your hair loss will continue throughout your treatment and up to a few weeks afterward. Whether your hair thins or you become completely bald will depend on your treatment. 
Hair loss (alopecia) is a much feared side effect of chemotherapy and is one of the most psychologically devastating aspects of cancer treatment. More than 80% of patients who receive chemotherapy consider hair loss the most distressing aspect of their treatment.Web Source


Can hair loss be prevented?
No treatment exists that can guarantee your hair won't fall out during or after chemotherapy. Several treatments have been investigated as possible ways to prevent hair loss, but none has been absolutely effective, including:
  • Scalp cooling caps (scalp hypothermia). During your chemotherapy infusions, a closely fitted cap that's cooled by chilled liquid can be placed on your head to slow blood flow to your scalp. This way, chemotherapy drugs are less likely to have an effect on your hair. 
    Studies of scalp cooling caps and other forms of scalp hypothermia have found they work somewhat in the majority of people who have tried them. However, the procedure also results in a very small risk of cancer recurring in your scalp, as this area doesn't receive the same dose of chemotherapy as the rest of your body. People undergoing scalp hypothermia report feeling uncomfortably cold and having headaches.
Image result for hair loss chemo
               Ask your doctor before using a cool cap as they can cause hypothermia. 



How to make the best of it

Your hair loss generally can't be prevented or controlled, but it can be managed. Take the following steps throughout your treatment to minimize the frustration and anxiety associated with hair loss.

During treatment

  • Baby your remaining hair. Continue your gentle hair strategies throughout your chemotherapy treatment. Use a soft brush. Wash your hair only as often as necessary. Consider using a gentle shampoo.
  • Consider shaving your head. Some people report that their scalps feel itchy, sensitive and irritated during their treatments and while their hair is falling out. Shaving your head can reduce the irritation and save the embarrassment of shedding.
  • Protect your scalp. If your head is going to be exposed to the sun or to cold air, protect it with sunscreen or a head covering. Your scalp may be sensitive as you go through treatment, so extreme cold or sunshine can easily irritate it. Having no hair or having less hair can make you feel cold, so a head covering may make you more comfortable.

After treatment

  • Continue gentle hair care. Your new hair growth will be especially fragile and vulnerable to the damage caused by styling products and heating devices. Hold off on coloring or bleaching your new hair until it grows stronger. Processing could damage your new hair and irritate your sensitive scalp.
  • Be patient. It's likely that your hair will come back slowly and that it might not look normal right away. But growth takes time, and it also takes time to repair the damage caused by your cancer treatment. 
Look Good Feel Better is a free program that provides hair and beauty makeovers and tips to women with cancer. These classes are offered throughout the United States and in several other countries. Many classes are offered through local chapters of the American Cancer Society.
Look Good Feel Better also offers classes and a website for teens with cancer, as well as a website and a guide with information for men with cancer.


Some helpful tips that can be of use to you: Web Source
  • If you think you might want a wig, buy it before treatment begins or at the very start of treatment. Ask if the wig can be adjusted – you might need a smaller wig as you lose hair.
  • If you buy a wig before hair loss begins, the wig shop can better match your hair color and texture. Or you can cut a swatch of hair from the top front of your head, where hair is lightest, to use for matching.
  • Wigs may be partially or fully covered by your health insurance. If so, ask for a prescription for a “cranial prosthesis.” Do not use the word “wig” on the prescription.
  • Get a list of wig shops in your area from your cancer team, other patients, or from the phone book. You can also order the American Cancer Society’s “tlc” Tender Loving Care®catalog (for women with hair loss due to cancer treatment) by visiting www.tlcdirect.org or by calling 1-800-850-9445.
  • If you’re going to buy a wig, try on different styles until you find one you really like. Consider buying 2 wigs, one for everyday use and one for special occasions.
  • Synthetic wigs need less care and styling than human hair wigs. They also cost less and may be easier if you have low energy during cancer treatment.
  • Some people find wigs are hot or itchy, and use turbans or scarves instead. Cotton fabrics tend to stay on a smooth scalp better than nylon or polyester. Wear a hat or scarf in cold weather to cover and stay warm.
  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher and a hat to protect your scalp from the sun.
  • Be gentle when brushing and washing your hair. Use a wide-toothed comb.
  • Hair loss might be somewhat reduced by avoiding too much brushing or pulling (which can happen while making braids or ponytails, using rollers, blow drying, or using curling or flat irons).
  • Wear a hair net at night, or sleep on a satin pillowcase to keep hair from coming out in clumps. Be gentle with eyelashes and eyebrows, which might also be affected.
  • If the thought of losing your hair bothers you, you might choose to cut your hair very short or even shave your head before it starts falling out.
  • When new hair starts to grow, it may break easily at first. Avoid perms and dyes for the first few months. Keep hair short and easy to style.
                                                            Me in my wig↑↑


My hair is coming back and it's way different... what the hair?? 
This texture change – called “chemo curls” -- is pretty universal among cancer patients who've undergone chemotherapy, explains Dr. Jyoti Patel, an associate professor of hematology and oncology at Northwestern University.“All my patients say they got the permanent they never wanted,” she said. “The texture is often difficult to manage, and tends to be really wiry and difficult to style.”
Chemotherapy is very effective at killing rapidly dividing cells -- but it can’t tell the difference between cancer cells and normal cells, such as hair follicles. That’s why so many cancer patients lose their hair during chemotherapy, among other side effects.
Chemo also causes hair to grow more slowly after treatment is finished, and patients can pick up extra pigment when that happens, Patel said. But doctors aren’t totally sure what causes the change in hair texture post-chemo. “We think that it has to do with chemotherapy effects getting out of the system,” Patel wrote in an e-mail. Hair that was deep in the follicle takes a while to grow out, so that initial growth post-treatment will look pretty wacky for most people.
Patel tells her patients that their initial hair growth after chemotherapy is unlikely to feel like their own, and that “to populate your head and get your own hair back is usually a six to nine month process.” Web Source
Here, in a general way, is how your hair grows: The hair comes from follicles, vase-shaped structures in the “basal” layer of your skin. This is the part of the skin that produces new cells and skin “products,” things like saliva, sweat, and hair. The follicle houses special cells called stem cells.
Some stem cells can turn into any kind of cell in the body. Others can turn into various kinds of one type, say different types of muscle cells, or nerve cells, or skin cells.
So the skin stem cells, which can turn into any kind of skin cell, migrate down into the follicle, and here’s where the mystery comes in: By some as-yet-undiscovered, cellular or genetic process, the stem cells help the follicle to create a hair bud. The bud starts to create “hair product,” a strand of proteins. As it does so, the protein—that is, your hair—grows.
All this hair growing involves cells dividing quickly, and that’s why about 70 percent of chemotherapy drugs will cause hair follicles to go haywire.
“Hair follicle stem cells are very fast-cycling cells, with significant numbers cycling all the time,” explains Dr. Amy McMichael, professor at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. “Chemotherapy agents are knocking off all the cells with fast cycles.”
In other words, your locks end up as collateral damage in the war on your cancer. During normal life, about 90 percent of your hair is in a growth phase and 10 percent is in a resting phase or in the process of falling out. Chemo pushes all your hair cells into this resting phase: the hair stops growing; the strands narrow and then break off.
When chemo ends, experts say, it’s very common for the hair to grow back differently.
“We don’t know how chemo affects the cell cycle,” says Dr. Doris Day, an attending dermatologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan and author of Forget the Facelift (Avery Penguin 2008). “But the thing is that chemo does seem to affect the hair cycle. After chemo, the hair may start cycling differently.”
Radical color changes—brown hair turning red, for instance—don’t seem to happen, doctors say. But straight hair may go curly, or curly hair straight. White hair may go dark again, or dark hair go white. Hair may grow back thicker. In rare cases, it may not grow back at all. Sometimes, the hair reverts to its original color and texture after a year or two. Sometimes, it doesn’t.
And often, as a recent New York Times article chronicled, patients choose to change their hair color after chemo.
But except for those artificial salon dyes, the whys and wherefores of these hair changes remain unexplained. Maybe it’s just one more way that cancer is like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates: You never know what you’re going to get. Or why. Web Source - Wendy Baer, MD 


                                     Before Cancer Hair                                             After Cancer Hair

Supplements and Cancer

Please consult your doctor before taking any supplements. DO NOT change your diet without asking your doctor first.  Each of the vitam...