Sunday, March 3, 2024

What To Wear To Chemo

Focus On Calories And Protein

10 Chemo Essentials: How to Build a Wardrobe for Hair Loss

When youre on chemotherapy, its important to keep up your strength to help your body heal and to cope with any treatment side effects. Because of this, youll need to have extra calories and protein in your diet.

Some examples of foods that can help you to add both of these things to your diet include:

  • meat and poultry
  • liquid meal replacement products like Ensure or Carnation Instant Breakfast

How Clothing Can Make A Difference During Cancer Treatment

While undergoing treatments, recovering at home, receiving visitors, or interacting with medical teams, I learned that wearing clothing and accessories that provided comfort, style, and functionality really made a difference in my dignity and emotional well-being. Initially, it was difficult to understand why a simple article of clothing could have such a profound impact on my well-being. But after a bit of research, it seemed like the impact of hospital clothing on patients well-being has been widely overlooked, despite the known impact of clothing on social identity and self-expression.

Feeling unkempt or uncomfortable in clothing that isnt suited to a body with surgical incisions, swollen arms or legs, distended abdomens, drains, or catheters and ports adds unnecessary discomfort and stress. Yet despite the financial, emotional, physical, and every other possible toll that people with cancer face, it felt like their needs were being left out of the equation when it came to medical clothing.

The more I researched, the more I discovered how hospital gowns are not designed for todays medical necessities, let alone the needs of people with cancer. In fact, the current backless style of hospital gowns dates back to 1910 and was designed with 1 clear function in mind: to make it easier to use bedpans. Today, Ive seen how these gowns continue to leave people with cancer feeling exposed, self-conscious, vulnerable, uncomfortable, cold, embarrassed, and disempowered.

Hatsbecause That Bald Noggin Gets Ccccccold

I loved my scarves, but as the seasons changed and the weather got cooler, they just didnt do enough to keep my head warm. :/

I opted for hat styles that I already enjoyed wearing, rather than cloches or more structured hats . Its been really important for me to feel like Im making style choices I would go for even if I werent sick.

Berets have been my favorite hat style during chemo treatment!

I only owned a couple of these pre-treatment, so I went ahead and ordered a big multipack of berets from Amazon.

Now I have a hat for just about any outfit I could think of, including my refashioned deconstructed sweater in the above pic, and this dress I gave puff sleeves & decorative stitching!

Ive also been enjoying slouchy knit hats like this one, especially when Im just hanging out at home in sweats.

This lightweight knit slouchy hat comes in lots of colors, too!

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Access Point For The Catheters

Both IV lines and ports are usually connected to your chest. This would mean that wearing anything with a high neck, or anything fitted around the chest and armpits is a bad idea.

Go for wider necks in elastic fabrics so that your top or tshirt can be easily pulled down to access your chest area.

Women can avoid wearing bras and instead opt for built-in bras in their tops, so that there is no need to button, or unbutton during this process.

Front open shirts can also be very useful for this.

It is recommended that you buy cheaper clothes for this period of time. You can consider ripping up the side seams or making keyholes in your chest area for your port or drain pipes.

What To Wear When Youre Having Radiotherapy

Chemo headwear pretty and stylish

If youre having external beam radiotherapy, wear clothes that are comfortable and made of soft fabric, such as cotton or bamboo. Choose clothes that are easy to take off, since you may need to change into a hospital gown or show the area that is being treated. Also, do not wear jewellery, talcum powder, body lotion, or deodorant in or near your treatment area.

During radiotherapy and for a while afterwards your skin may become very sensitive. You may find it more comfortable if you wear loose fitting clothes and avoid tight collars and ties if youve had radiotherapy to your neck or chest. It may also help to avoid shoulder and bra straps go without a bra, wear a crop top instead, or try a sports bra a size bigger than usual. If youre having radiotherapy for a gynecological cancer, you might feel more comfortable in loose, jogging bottoms without underwear.

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What I Pack For Chemo

When I was diagnosed with large cell neuroendocrine cervical cancer nearly four years ago, I felt utterly lost.

And I felt overwhelmed when my doctor said I needed chemotherapy. I didnt know what to expect or what to pack. So I decided to bring everything.

Since then, Ive had nearly 55 chemo treatments using several chemo drugs, 28 radiation sessions and four major surgeries . In the process, Ive become an expert on what to bring to chemo and what to leave at home.

Heres what I recommend packing to make chemo more comfortable. Ive included a couple of items that wont fit in a bag but are definite musts.

1. Comfortable clothes: Chemo can last anywhere from one to eight hours and may involve overnight hospital stays. So, it helps to wear comfortable clothes. Youll want to keep your port accessible, so consider wearing a V-neck shirt.

2. Socks and/or close-toed shoes: The hospital or clinic will be chilly. Wear comfortable, close-toed shoes and or slippers with a hard sole. If you insist on open-toed shoes, bring socks just in case. The softer and fuzzier, the better.

3. A warm blanket: Theres something about cuddling up with a nice blanket that brings instant comfort. If you forget your blanket, ask one of MD Andersons volunteers in blue jackets. Theyre likely to have a warm blanket for you.

6. Music: While some patients find the hum of the infusion machines relaxing, others find it aggravating. So dont leave home without your headphones and favorite playlists.

Frequent Or Heavy Alcohol Consumption

Having an occasional beer or glass of wine during chemotherapy is unlikely to have serious effects. However, because some chemotherapy drugs can interact with alcohol, always ask your doctor if its OK to have a drink now and then.

Frequent or heavy alcohol consumption during chemotherapy is generally a bad idea. One reason for this is that alcohol can worsen some chemotherapy side effects, such as dehydration, diarrhea, and mouth sores.

Additionally, alcohol and chemotherapy drugs are both processed by the liver. Drinking while on chemotherapy can place additional stress on your liver.

Also Check: What Helps Hair Grow After Chemo

Contact With Body Fluids After Treatment

Your body typically breaks down and passes chemotherapy drugs during the 48 to 72 hours after your treatment. Because of this, its possible for these drugs to be present in various body fluids, including urine, stool, and vomit during this time.

Because chemotherapy drugs can affect healthy cells, coming into contact with them in various body fluids can be potentially harmful to yourself or others. Thats why its a good idea to avoid contact with body fluids that may contain them.

Here are a few tips for a avoiding contact:

  • Wash your hands. Thoroughly wash and dry your hands after using the bathroom or after coming into contact with any body fluids that may contain chemotherapy drugs.
  • Flush twice. Flush the toilet twice after using the bathroom, and make sure that the lid is down to prevent splashing.
  • Wash soiled fabrics. Promptly wash any clothes or sheets that have had contact with body fluids. Wash them separately from other laundry, and use the warm setting on your washing machine and normal laundry detergent.
  • Clean after youve been sick. If you vomit, clean any containers or soiled areas with warm, soapy water and dry thoroughly.

Your doctor will know which bodily fluids may be affected by chemotherapy drugs. Be sure to ask so that you can take appropriate precautions.

Taking Your Own Hospital Gown

How to Wear a Chemo Beanie®: patented Cancer Headcover No-Tie Cancer Scarf, Turban Alternative!

When youre admitted, the hospital will provide you with a gown, but youre more than welcome to bring your own if you wish.

Designed to provide a little more dignity than the standard patient gown, the Hospital Gown from Care+Wear is packed with practical features to help you stay comfortable and covered up during treatment.

Wearing a flimsy gown in hospital can make the whole process feel scarier and more real for patients. Making sure doctors and nurses have quick access to areas of your body for tests, procedures, and checkups can mean whipping off your top or trousers at a moments notice, and this can be pretty distressing for patients who are already feeling vulnerable or uncomfortable.

So patient experience experts Care+Wear teamed up with fashion designers at Parsons School of Design in New York to create the ultimate patient gown, combining patient comfort and dignity with practical access points for medical professionals.

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What To Bring To Chemo

Weve compiled a list of things that our own survivors as well as former cancer patients and health care professionals believe are must-haves to include in the chemo tote bag you bring to every treatment appointment. So grab your favorite tote bag and lets get packing! Heres what you need for the ultimate chemo care package!

New Developments In Cancer Research

Progress in the field.In recent years, advancements in research have changed the way cancer is treated. Here are some recent updates:

Uterine cancer.Women who use chemical hair straighteners frequently could have a higher risk of developing uterine cancer than women who have never used the products, according to new findings from a national study that has followed nearly 34,000 U.S. women for more than a decade.

Cancer vaccines.For a long time, the promise of cancer vaccines that would protect healthy people at high risk of cancer has only dangled in front of researchers. Now, though, encouraging animal data and preliminary studies in human patients are making some doctors feel optimistic.

Tumor microbiome.Two new studies have revealed that cancer is rife with bacteria and fungi. This so-called tumor microbiome is proving so distinctive in each type of cancer that some scientists hope to find early signs of hidden tumors by measuring the microbial DNA these microbes shed into the blood.

A detection trick.In a surprise discovery, researchers found that cells from some types of cancers escaped destruction by the immune system by hiding inside other cancer cells. The finding may explain why some cancers can be resistant to treatments that should have destroyed them.

MJW, 71, Vero Beach, Fla.

Miko Hargett, 43, Las Vegas

Laura-Lee Fineman Karp, 73, Seattle

Beth Horikawa, 67, Madison, Wis.


Lisa Lurie, 59, co-founder of Cancer Be Glammed, Pittsburgh

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Bringing A Bag Filled With Practical And Comforting Items From Home Can Help Reduce Stress For The Child And Parent During Chemotherapy

Story by: Sara Sidery on March 9, 2022

When a child is diagnosed with cancer and has to start chemotherapy, it can be overwhelming for the entire family. Preparing, however, and arriving at the Norton Childrens Infusion Center with a chemo bag filled with practical and comforting items from home can help reduce stress for both the child and parent.

Our providers do everything they can to help families during their stay, but a prepacked chemo bag can help everyone be as comfortable as possible during a childs treatment, said Ashok B. Raj, M.D., pediatric hematologist/oncologist with Norton Childrens Cancer Institute, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine.

The below packing list includes suggested items that may be used in outpatient settings, so make adjustments based on the length of your childs stay and use what works best for your family.

Healthy Snacks And Drinks

Womens chemo turban hat for cancer by Suburban Chemo Hats on Zibbet

Most infusion centers carry a variety of beverages and snacks to help you stay well hydrated and nourished during your chemotherapy session. You may also choose to bring your favorites from home.

The American Cancer Society recommends choosing small snacks and focusing on eating protein when you can.

Some ideas for snacks include:

It’s also a good idea to pack a water bottle so that you will always have a drink readily accessible. It’s important to stay hydrated throughout chemo to help prevent or reduce dehydration.

There is some evidence that using ginger for chemotherapy-induced nausea may be beneficial, though store-bought ginger ale often contains little if any real ginger. Bringing your own homemade crystallized ginger, ginger ale, or ginger tea may help reduce nausea in addition to being a pleasant reminder of home.

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Cancer Patients Tell Us About Clothing For Changing Bodies

The stockings dont look very good but Ive decided to change my attitude about that and say they are chic, one patient writes.

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Susan Gubars column, Living With Cancer, recently addressed the challenges of finding clothes to accommodate a body altered by cancer surgery and treatment.

Every time doctors reshaped my anatomy, I found myself flummoxed in my closet, she wrote. I was confounded about attire, so I resorted to sweatpants and rarely left the house.

We asked readers to tell us about their own solutions. Weve gathered some of the responses here, lightly edited.

Kerry Kinsella, 43, Port Richey, Fla.

This article comes at a time when I am having near daily meltdowns trying to find clothes to wear, especially to the office. And honestly, I thought it was just me. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2017, having since completed chemotherapy, mastectomy, radiation, targeted therapy, ongoing hormonal therapy and recently another mastectomy and reconstruction.

I remember specifically my breast surgeon saying, Treatment will take around nine months. You know, its like being pregnant. Having never been pregnant, no, I dont know.

But Whats My Favorite Headwear While Im Going Through Chemotherapy Bald Scarf Hat Or Wig

The answer is I have no answer. I feel like each one has had its place in my cancer journey.

  • Going bald can feel empowering! It feels great to walk out into the world with no hair to hide behind and just let your unique beauty, personality, and style shine. Just make sure to wear sunscreen if youre outside or your scalp will burn!
  • Scarves are effortlessly classy & bohemian. They can elevate any look while still keeping my sensitive scalp happy.
  • Hats are like a cozy pair of sweatpantsgreat for warmth , but can also give an outfit an artsy sophisticated look.
  • If hats are like sweatpants, Wigs are like fun party dresses or a nice pair of high heels.

Theyre not the most comfortable option, but theyre fun! You can try a totally different look . Or you can get at least somewhat close to how your hair looked pre-treatment .

Another thing to keep in mind is that wigs are hot, and not in that early aughts Paris Hilton kinda way. Wigs with open weft caps let air flow through better those that are of the hand-tied monofilament variety. On a hot summer day, you might want to opt for a pretty sun hat, a scarf, or your bald beautiful noggin!

I dont recommend going on a wig buying spree while laying in bed in a chemo brain fog haze , but at least one wig might be fun to wear on occasion, even if you dont wear it every day .

Coping with cancer treatment is hard. You are under no obligation whatsoever to get dolled up if you dont feel like it.


Post it in the comments!

Also Check: Things I Wish I Had During Chemo

Clothing Styled For Treatment

Chemotherapy and radiation are stressful enough without worrying about what to wear. Clothes Styled for Treatment eliminate the guesswork. So much to love, like: jackets and wraps with easy-access to ports and PICC Lines kimonos that wont irritate radiation sensitive skin and colorful PICC Line sleeves. Weve got you covered literally!

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We prepare and empower women with all forms of cancer for the non-medical lifestyle and appearance-related side effects of surgery and treatment.

From diagnosis through survivorship we enable women to recover with dignity, positive self-esteem and personal style.

Warm Clothes And Blankets

How to Choose a Sleep Cap for Chemo Headwear Hats. Scarves & More

Oncology units are often cold. In addition, hair loss, weight loss, and low appetite may contribute to feeling cold. When preparing for your chemo treatment, dress in layers and plan ahead so that providers can easily access either your port site or PICC line, or place an IV.

You may also want to bring a small blanket in your chemo bag.

Chemo can increase skin sensitivity, so you may want to choose soft, natural fabrics. Warm items like socks, a hat, gloves, or an extra sweater will help you stay warm and comfortable.

Also Check: What Are Symptoms Of Radiation Poisoning

Hard Acidic Or Spicy Foods

Chemotherapy can cause changes in your mouth and throat. When this happens, you can experience things like increased sensitivity and mouth sores.

During this time, its important to avoid foods that can further irritate these areas. This typically includes items that are hard, acidic, or spicy, such as:

  • carbonated beverages

About Upmc Hillman Cancer Center

When you are facing cancer, you need the best care possible. UPMC Hillman Cancer Center provides world-class cancer care, from diagnosis to treatment, to help you in your cancer battle. We are the only comprehensive cancer center in our region, as designated by the National Cancer Institute. We have more than 70 locations throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York, with more than 200 oncologists making it easier for you to find world-class care close to home. Our internationally renowned research team is striving to find new advances in prevention, detection, and treatment. Most of all, we are here for you. Our patient-first approach aims to provide you and your loved ones the care and support you need. To find a provider near you, visit our website.


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