Facing newly diagnosed cancer
Cancer… a scary word that sometimes makes us fear the worst. Although survival rates are rising, the shock of learning you’ll be living with cancer remains profound. When you’re newly diagnosed, emotions, fears and questions take hold. It’s overwhelming. Maybe time freezes, and confusion prevents you from taking in any information or feeling anything.
Of course, everyone will react differently. Yet one thing is certain: no cancer patient has to go through their upsetting ordeal alone. A care team of health professionals from a variety of fields is dedicated to guiding you through each step of your oncology treatments.
La Roche-Posay is also by your side to help you manage the skin side effects—which are temporary, we remind you!—that cancer treatments may cause. We’re here to help you better understand, soothe and even prevent them throughout your oncology care. Because now more than ever, self-care is key.
If you’re newly diagnosed with cancer, you may be wondering how the upcoming treatments will impact your life, how they will affect your appearance and influence your morale. Of course, each patient will react differently to radiation therapy or chemotherapy; nonetheless, here are a few things to look out for to tame the potential side effects on your skin and hair.
Some oncology treatments cause unpleasant cutaneous side effects, such as increased dryness, radiodermatitis (lesions caused by radiation therapy), hand-foot syndrome (an inflammatory affliction that weakens blood vessels in the extremities) and folliculitis (inflammation of hair follicles). Although irritating, these skin side effects are temporary. Even better, they can be largely relieved with a combination of dermocosmetic products known to soothe the skin of people undergoing cancer treatments. When adopting a new skincare routine, opt for cleansing products that respect the skin’s pH, as well as soothing creams and balms—and don’t forget high-strength sun protection!
Hair loss, most often caused by chemotherapy, radiation therapy and immunotherapy, is not always unavoidable; everything depends on the course of chemotherapy, the dose of prescribed medication, the length of treatment and the health of each individual patient. Hair loss may be sudden or progressive and may appear two to three weeks after treatment begins. As for the eyelashes and eyebrows, they typically fall out later. Will they grow back? It varies from person to person, but in general, regrowth occurs after treatment ends.
To better prepare for possible hair loss, ask your care team to refer you to professionals. These experts will help you decide if it’s better to get a haircut or have your head shaved prior to cancer treatments. They can also assist you in choosing a headscarf, turban, hat or capillary prosthesis. Don’t hesitate to ask a loved one for help throughout the process.
It’s true that a flood of questions will surge forth when cancer treatments begin, but whatever the nature of these questions, know that you can always call upon your care team, particularly your oncologist, for reliable answers. Some establishments also offer the services of a health professional who, in addition to lending a hand during your visits with your oncologist, will be able to explain things and ease your concerns. They will also be able to refer you to support groups and psychological and psychosocial resources if needed.
One last piece of advice: between appointments, jot down your questions so you can bring them up at your next visit with your oncologist or care team. Remember that you can never ask too many questions when it comes to your well-being. And finally, don’t hesitate to contact your family doctor or pharmacist if needed.