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Cancer Survivor Day - June 7, 2020

Congratulations! Let us celebrate cancer survivors from the disease that does not discriminate. Cancer treatment has greatly improved over the years and no longer uses a “one size fits all” approach as it did twenty-five years ago. Each year the cancer survival rates are increasing. Today, many types of treatment options are being utilized that are individualized to each patient. Radiation and chemotherapy are still being used today but are much more specific to each patient. Some of the newest treatment plans include: using the patient’s own immune system to prevent re-occurrence of cancer and provide long-term remission, and treatments that distinguish cancer cells from normal cells and attack only the cancer cells. 

Unfortunately, there are still many side effects from cancer treatments. Radiation therapy continues to produce a type of dermatitis that resembles a sunburn. This type of radiation burn produces redness, itching, flaking and soreness. What can patients use for this type of burn to obtain relief? Milkweed Balm is one option that provides relief and also contains antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents and Omega-7 fatty acids that aid in the symptoms caused from receiving radiation. Aloe vera is another natural topical agent from the aloe plant that can ease the painful burn as a result of radiation. 

Certain types of chemotherapy can also cause your skin to become dry, itchy, red, and ultimately peel. It is important to keep your affected areas clean and apply moisturizers regularly. Another idea is to help take your mind off of your painful, itchy areas with aromatherapy. Specific scents such as lavender, tea tree oil and lemon oil help you relax and produce a calming effect that may prevent or reduce anxiety. Anxiety can cause your painful areas to seem more intense and you’ll want to scratch and possibly cause an infection from a break in the skin. 

Another cancer treatment option that has proven to be effective for chemotherapy nausea and vomiting is acupuncture.  Acupuncture is also helpful in managing cancer related pain, fatigue, and dry mouth. It is wonderful to have so many natural options for cancer survivors who experience side effects to the current treatments.