Finding out that someone you love has cancer can be a heart-wrenching experience. You want to do all you can to support them, but you may not know just what to do. Here are two ways you can support your loved one while they are undergoing chemotherapy for cancer and really make a difference in their life.
1. Prepare Healthy, Tasty Meals for Them
Even if your loved one is typically a healthy eater, the physical and emotional distress of developing cancer and undergoing chemotherapy can leave them too mentally exhausted to even care about eating healthy meals. If your loved one is staying at a hospital or other medical center, then the hospital meals are also likely not appetizing, and with a common side effect of chemotherapy being loss of appetite, they may not even be eating the meals at all.
While there is no magic food that can prevent all of the side effects of chemotherapy, a healthy, balanced diet filled with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can help minimize the side effects of chemotherapy and help your loved one recover from it faster.
Cancer.org recommends that people in the midst of chemotherapy eat at least 2.5 cups of vegetables each day and limit their intake of animal fat. Unsaturated plant fats are important to eat, though, along with plenty of lean protein that helps aid the body in tissue repair.
If your loved one's appetite is lacking and they are having difficulty eating enough vegetables, then freshly made vegetable/fruit juices and smoothies may be easier for them to get and keep down .
2. Encourage Them To Ask Their Doctor For a Cold Cap
While there used to be no way to prevent the hair loss that occurs during and after chemotherapy, there is a new medical device that can prevent hair loss in many people undergoing chemotherapy. This device is called a cold cap, and don't worry, because it does not have any harmful side effects. There are several brands on the market today, but they all work in a very similar fashion. They are called cold caps because they are caps that are worn on the head and they cool the scalp.
Cool caps are chilled to somewhere between -15 and -45 degrees Fahrenheit, and then placed on a person's head for an average of 30 minutes before chemotherapy (sometimes longer or shorter times are prescribed), they then continue to wear the cap during the chemotherapy treatment, and then they wear it for a little while after treatment.
How do they work? The extreme cold causes the blood vessels in the scalp to temporarily narrow. When chemotherapy is administered, it then flows through all of the blood vessels on the body to kill cancer cells, yet does not travel through the scalp blood vessels, because they are so narrow that blood flow is greatly reduced.
Don't assume that your loved one knows about this device, because their doctor may or may not have heard of it because it is relatively new technology. Your loved one will thank you after it works well for them and they have a full head of hair after chemotherapy when they may have expected to lose all their hair.
If your loved one has informed you that they have cancer and are undergoing chemotherapy soon, then use these tips to support them emotionally and physically through this tough time.Share
13 October 2016
I was blessed with healthy, thick hair and perfect skin as a young girl. I went to college out-of-state, and I soon started to get acne and my hair started thinning. Everyone told me that it was likely due to stress, but to be honest, I loved college and found most of my first-year classes pretty easy. During my first summer home I put two-and-two together: my eating habits changed drastically at college. My mother always fed us very healthy meals, and my eating habits at college were so bad that I even ate cookies for breakfast sometimes! I found out my hair loss was due to lack of healthy vitamins in my diet and my skin problems were also caused by my poor diet. I created this blog to help other learn how their health, skin, and are all connected, and I hope you can learn a lot here!