Breast Cancer

12 Tips for Coping With Breast Cancer

Undergoing chemotherapy can be a challenge. Here’s a cheatsheet to help you cope from women who’ve been there:

  1. Learn about your condition. But make sure your information is accurate. If you search your condition online, stick to reputable medical sources. There’s a lot of misinformation out there.
  2. Buy plastic or bamboo utensils. This will help you avoid the metallic taste in foods.
  3. Cut your hair before you start chemotherapy. This will lessen the shock of losing it. Also, it reduces harm to your scalp when the hair follicles come out.
  4. Get your teeth cleaned before treatment begins.
  5. Don’t get acrylic nails or nail wraps. If you polish your nails, use non-acetone-based remover. Some chemotherapy will turn your nails black (Taxotere is known to do this); you can pre-empt this with dark-colored polish.
  6. If you can, schedule your chemotherapy on Fridays. That leaves time for you to recuperate Saturday and Sunday.
  7. Stay hydrated.
  8. Bring an iPad or a book to chemotherapy. We know folks who have binge-watched several seasons of “Game of Thrones,” “Empire” or “black-ish” while undergoing treatment. Or load your phone with your favorite music. Don’t forget your earphones!
  9. Suck on ice chips or popsicles during infusions to help avoid mouth sores.
  10. Stay moisturized. After every shower, slather yourself from head to toe with a high-quality, paraben-free, hypoallergenic moisturizer.
  11.  Allow yourself to be taken care of and relax. Don’t hesitate to ask for help.
  12. Tell your doctor or oncology nurse if side effects become unbearable. Nurses say they know how to reduce a lot of the side effects you may experience, but they can’t share this information with you if you don’t let them know what’s happening.
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