Cancer: 9 tips for better coping with the side effects of treatments

Cancer: 9 tips for better coping with the side effects of treatments

Hair loss, brittle nails, weakened skin… cancer treatments can lead to physical or mental pain. Here is how to prevent or tame these side effects, to regain self-confidence.

Oncological treatments can be local (surgery, localized radiotherapy) or systemic (chemotherapyhormone therapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapies). “However, systemic treatments act on the whole body”, explains Doctor Markéta Saint Aroman, pharmaceutical and dermocosmetics medical director for Pierre Fabre laboratories. “They pass through the bloodstream and enter all cells of the body, not just anarchic cancerous cells. They can therefore cause cardiac, ophthalmic, musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal, oral and skin side effects.

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These Side effects are characterized by weakening of the nails and skin of the body, face, hands and feet, with severe dryness, itching, tightness and scaling, and loss of hair, eyelashes and eyebrows. “This skin toxicity affects more than 30% of patients in the case of immunotherapies, from 18 to 72% for chemotherapy and reaches 75 to 90% in the case of targeted therapies. adds Dr. Marketa Saint Aroman.

Radiotherapy, instructions for use

The radiotherapy care cause burns and radiation dermatitis, it is therefore essential to:

  • Do not apply cream to the irradiated area within 6 hours before the session, it could aggravate the effects of radiation.
  • Make thermal water compresses to relieve overheating after the session (or when getting dressed, under your clothes).
  • Apply twice a day to the irradiated areas, for the duration of the treatment and up to 4 weeks later, a healing cream. It improves comfort and participates in the repair of the skin.

Reconcile with your body thanks to socio-aesthetic workshops

Socio-aesthetics has been part of the patient journey in oncology since 2003, when it was included in measure 42 of the Cancer Plan. This care is offered either within oncology departments, or in places opened by associations, and by certain socio-estheticians who come to your home.

Onco-estheticians are trained in the specifics of the disease and its consequences. The management is global, in order to reduce the cutaneous effects of the treatments, to no longer “look sick” and come to terms with your body and image. Individual and collective workshops address the adverse effects on the skin and appendages, the right gestures to take care of your skin, hair loss and hair prostheses, how to tie your scarf, put on make-up, recreate your eyebrows, find the lingerie adapted after an ablation/reconstruction, but also provide care (back and body massages, facial and scalp care, hands and feet)…

Our Experts:

  • Dr. Marketa Saint Aroman, pharmaceutical and dermocosmetics medical director of Pierre Fabre laboratories
  • Joëlle Nonni, head of the skin health education workshops at the Avène thermal baths
  • Christelle Guillet, head of the pomade workshop at the La Roche Posay spa center
  • Adrian Coelho, hairdresser, founder of the Very Confidential salon (Paris)

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