This week - Dr ciara met with some of the clients of Bray Cancer Support Centre.
The centre offers a range of support services to people with cancer and their families and friends. They offer a sympathetic ear with their drop in centre as well as offering a range of classes and activities, complimentary therapies, counselling and psychotherapy. For further information check out their website www.braycancersupport.ie
The statistics are stark - one in three people will develop cancer during their lifetime and breast cancer is now the second most common cancer in Ireland. It affects over 2,000 women in Ireland every year. For more information, contact the National Cancer Helpline on 1800 200 700.
If you notice a change in your breast be it in shape or weight or find a lump - go to the doctor and get it checked out - remember 9 out of 10 times it is nothing to worry about but there is no price on peace of mind.
Affects of Chemo
For women, some types of chemotherapy can cause vaginal dryness, a condition where no vaginal lubrication is created (even when a woman is aroused). This can lead to painful, irritating sex. Using a water based lubricant, such as K-Y jelly, can make sex more comfortable. Be sure to consult with your doctor before using any type of over-the-counter medications.
Treatment often brings feelings of being unattractive because of hair loss and changes in weight (either gain or loss). Many psychologists agree that maintaining a normal sex life has many advantages while going through cancer treatment.
Get your teeth cleaned before you start because you can't get them cleaned during chemo and you tend to get mouth sores. You can minimize these by brushing your teeth three to five times a day and rinsing with a mild mouthwash.
Get some nice body lotion and lip balm because the chemo dries out your skin. (On the flip side, chemo is better than Botox and takes all the toxins out of your skin. Suddenly, your face is as smooth as a baby's butt.)
The drugs and the steroids can cause havoc to your metabolism, so it's best to try to find a reasonable but pretty strict eating regime to give your body and immune system the strength it needs to fight and bounce back. . Don't miss your exercise-the oxygen and endorphins will help so so much. And eat like a pregnant woman overcoming morning sickness-small meals five times a day. Don't let your stomach get empty; it helps counter the nausea. Sleep with a banana by the side of your bed and a pitcher of water. Hydrate all night long and have the banana in case you are feeling a little queasy first thing in the morning.