Additional Care


Sun Care        Cosmetic Hygiene         Nail Care      Oral Care

Sun Protection

The sun can have harmful effects on skin at any time of the year. However, radiation and chemotherapy treatments, as well as some medications, can increase your susceptibility to sunburn and skin damage. As a general rule, no sun exposure is a good idea when you’re receiving radiation treatment if the site of the treatment is exposed skin. Your doctor may not want you to put sunscreen or any cream on while you’re receiving radiation treatment as the skin is prone to injury at that time. Always check with your radiation oncologist.

HERE ARE SOME OTHER SUN PROTECTION TIPS:

  • Use a sunscreen that is specially formulated for your face.
  • Apply sun protection daily and liberally – a dollop about the size of a golf ball – to all exposed skin, such as the lips, ears, scalp, sides and back of neck, and décolleté.
  • Get in the habit of applying sun protection every morning, about 20 to 30 minutes before going outside, and reapply often – about every two hours.
  • Remember that you’re still exposed to UVA/UVB rays even in shady areas.
  • If you’re indoors, windows offer no protection against UVA rays.
  • Stay inside during the intense-sun hours of 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Don’t forget to wear a hat – preferably one with a wide brim of about three inches.
  • If wearing makeup, apply the sunscreen first.
  • Don’t forget your eyes – they need protection too. Wear sunglasses with UVA/UVB protection.

REMEMBER: 

  • It doesn’t add up... if your moisturizer and foundation both have an SPF of 15, it doesn’t mean that you’ll have a protection of SPF 30.
  • If you’re having radiation treatment, don’t use sunscreen until your treatments are finished, or unless you’ve received your doctor’s approval. Choose sun protection that delivers both UVA and UVB protection in a broad spectrum SPF 30 or higher.

What does it mean? Confused by all the talk about UVA and UVB? Here’s a brief explanation of the differences:

  • UVA is long-range ultraviolet radiation that has the ability to penetrate deep into the skin, causing immediate tanning, premature skin ageing and can play a role in the development of certain skin cancers. UVA is not readily absorbed by the ozone layer – about 95% gets through.
  • UVB is short-wave ultraviolet radiation that can penetrate the epidermis and is responsible for delayed tanning, sunburns and most skin cancers.
  • A large portion of UVB is absorbed by the earth’s ozone layer – only 5% reaches the planet’s surface.

SOURCE: HEALTH CANADA

 

 

Hygiene

During cancer treatment your weakened immune system is vulnerable to infection. During this time you should be more vigilant about skin care and hygiene.

HANDS
Before applying or removing cosmetics, wash your hands thoroughly in lukewarm water with antibacterial soap. Use a disposable hand cloth or a clean towel to dry your hands. When on the go, use travel-size hand sanitizers to protect against germs.

APPLICATORS
Use only clean disposable cotton balls, pads, sponges, cotton swabs or cosmetic spatulas to apply cosmetics. Be sure to dispose of them after each use. You may wish to use makeup brushes when your treatment is over. You can clean your brushes with mild soap or a specialty brush cleaner.

PRODUCTS

  • If you can, use products with pump dispensers. If not, use spatulas to remove the product from containers to avoid transferring germs back into the product.
  • Close all lids tightly and promptly after use.
  • Don’t ‘double dip’ with a used applicator.
  • Never blow on applicators or products.
  • Avoid sharing personal care products – even with close friends or family members.
  • When purchasing, test products on your hand or wrist, not on your face.

 

 

Nail Care

Cancer treatment can sometimes render nails, nail beds and surrounding skin  more fragile and prone to infection. Here’s how to pamper and protect your hands (and your feet, too).

  • Avoid cutting your cuticles. Instead, use cuticle cream to help combat dryness, splitting and hangnails.
  • Moisturize with rich hand cream.
  • Keep nails short.
  • If you’d like to use polish, soft, neutral shades of pink will lend a healthy- looking finish.
  • Use an oily acetone-free polish remover.
  • If you’re trying a new salon, call ahead to find out whether the staff has worked with – or knows what  to expect with – clients undergoing treatment for cancer.
  • Avoid acrylic nails or wraps as bacteria can get trapped in the space behind the acrylic nail or wrap, leading to infection.
  • Wear rubber gloves while doing chores as excessive exposure to water can lead to fungal infection of the nail bed.

 

 

Oral Care

Caring for your mouth, teeth and gums is especially important during treatment.


Your dentist is an important member of your healthcare team. Upon your cancer diagnosis and determination of your treatment plan, make a visit to your dentist to ensure you don’t have any cavities or gum irritations.

Depending on your treatment, you may experience sores or a metallic taste in your mouth. There are steps you can take to prevent infections and make your mouth feel better.

  • Brush your teeth with a soft toothbrush using toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth.
  • You should change your toothbrush every month during treatment.
  • Rinse your mouth several times a day using an alcohol-free mouthwash, a solution of baking soda and water or a weak saltwater mixture to help prevent mouth sores or ease discomfort if they have developed. 
  • Combat a bad taste in your mouth or dry mouth with a fruit-flavoured Popsicle or sugarless hard candy

 

 

We hope the steps outlined here will help you find ways to manage the appearance-related effects of cancer treatment.

These steps are not intended to replace medical care in any way. These steps are meant to support the advice from your healthcare team. You should always consult your healthcare practitioner with any questions or concerns.