Safety Tips and Self Care

To avoid infections or other problems and get some relief from side effects of chemotherapy, hormone therapy, radiation therapy and surgery:

  • Do dental work BEFORE surgeries, chemotherapy or other treatments to avoid bleeding and infections
  • Ask your dentist about special dental cleansers and saliva substitutes.
  • Ask family members or friends to help you with child care, grocery shopping,housework, preparing meals, transportation, pet care, pick up prescriptions,finding information, going to clinic and doctor appointment with you
  • Ask for medicine to numb the pain
  • Ask for help, hugs, and support (it’s free!)
  • No hard brushing or flossing of the gums and teeth; be gentle
  • Be careful when cooking, cutting, sewing; avoid burns, cuts, needle pricks to your hands
  • Be careful when outside or with animals; avoid insect bites, animal bites or scratches
  • Buy a lightweight wig that you like to wear
  • Check your mouth and skin every day for any problems
  • Chew sugar free gum or suck on sugar free candy to keep your mouth moist
  • Eat well; more fruits, vegetables and foods you can tolerate
  • Drink lots of fresh water to stay hydrated moist and help dilute the chemotherapy drugs which can build up in your body and harm kidneys
  • Rest as much as possible; surgery and treatments take lots of energy
  • Tell your hairdresser you are receiving chemotherapy treatment and make sure they know how to care for your scalp, prepare and style your hair or a wig
  • Tell your doctor about other health issues you have such as eczema, diabetes, high blood pressure, that may complicate or counteract with your medicines and treatments
  • Use a moisturizing lotion such as pure Aloe Vera, Aqua Gel, Shea Butter
  • Wash your hands with a mild, non-fragrant antiseptic soap and rinse thoroughly
  • Gentle massage and lymph edema treatments help with fluid buildup in arms, hands, surgery areas and torso
  • Avoid people with colds, infections or conditions that affect your immune system
  • Seek emotional and mental health therapy to deal with your feelings
  • Use a cream hair remover or electric razor to remove underarm or body hair after the surgery areas heal
  • Wear a hat, long sleeves, and use sunscreen during hot sunny days to avoid sunburn
  • Wear rubber gloves when washing dishes, using cleaning products, or working in the garden
  • No alcoholic drinks or illegal drugs which can counteract with chemo drugs fighting the cancer and delay your healing and recovery
  • No blood draws or pressure checks, or injections on the surgery side for 5 years which can affect your lymph nodes and cause infection
  • No crunchy, hot, or spicy foods when mouth blisters or sores develop
  • No mouthwash with alcohol in it
  • No hair weaves, hair perms or gluing hair tracks to the scalp
  • No heavy housework or lifting using arms after surgery; ask for help
  • No manicures or pedicures; nail polish is OK, but don’t cut the cuticles
  • Seek spiritual healing
  • Take time to do what is best for you, get the help you need, and understand each step along the way
  • Celebrate every healing accomplishment
  • Live your life, learn to be happy and healthy to the fullest