If you are about to undergo chemotherapy or in the middle of a regimen, exercise may be the last thing on your "to-do" list. Your mode of thinking may be that if you are too tired to even go grocery shopping, how in the world can you go walk a mile or take a yoga class? What is great about exercise is that it can help fight fatigue! Research has repeatedly shown that exercise combats fatigue, depression, insomnia, and also improves self-esteem and confidence in people undergoing chemotherapy. Some studies have shown that people who exercise during treatment experience fewer side effects than those who don't exercise.
Fatigue takes a toll on you, especially on your quality of life, which is so important to try to maintain while in treatment. If you feel fatigued, it is so important to talk to your doctor about what can be done medically to treat it. You can aid in preventing and combating fatigue by exercising, drinking plenty of fluids, and care planning of your schedule. Learn more about cancer fatigue and what you can do to prevent and treat it.
<p>I receive a lot of questions about cervical health, especially from young women who have heard incorrect information about Pap smears and cervical cancer. I decided to address these questions in a new article, "<a href="http://cancer.about.com/od/cervicalcan3/tp/cervical-cancer-myths.htm" zT="1/1UH">9 Commonly Believed Cervical Cancer Myths</a>". By reading I hope you learn something new and empower yourself to make good decisions about your cervical health.</p>
Pelvic pain has plagued women since the beginning of time. It can be a normal sign that ovulation is occuring or part of pre-mentrual syndrome. Pelvic pain and cramping are things we have been told are just part of being a woman. As cancer research has progressed over the last few decades, we have learned that pelvic pain can be a sign of something more serious. From endometriosis to gynecologic cancer, pelvic pain can be a strong symptom. But, how do you discern between your average, run of the mill pelvic cramping that is normal and pelvic pain that is serious? Read more about pelvic pain and when you should see your doctor about it.
Most people expect certain side effects of chemotherapy like hair loss and nausea, but they are usually surprised when it affects a very personal part of their life -- their sex life. The sexual side effects of chemotherapy are plenty, but what you experience and the severity greatly depends on what chemotherapy drug(s) you are taking and at what dose. From the loss of sexual desire to male impotence, chemotherapy's sexual side effects can pose unique challenges in the bedroom. The good news is that the side effects are usually temporary and can often be relieved with OTC medications and products and in some cases, through prescription medication. Learn more about the sexual side effects of chemotherapy.
A common question that people undergoing chemotherapy often ask is about using condoms during chemotherapy. Using condoms during intercourse while undergoing chemo isn't just about preventing pregnancy, its about preventing the exposure of chemo toxins to your partner in the days following chemotherapy. Read more about condom use and chemotherapy.
Have you experienced sexual side effects of cancer treatment? We want to hear your story! Leave your thoughts in the 'Comments' section below.
March kicks off National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month! This month we aim to raise awareness about a disease that strikes about 100,000 Americans each year (based on the American Cancer Society's 2010 facts and figures). Did you know that about 50, 000 American died of colorectal cancer last year? It time to spread the word about screening, symptoms, and risks. What are you going to do?
There is actually a lot you can do! Ask yourself if you or your spouse/partner are due for a colonoscopy. Have your parents had one recently? Are they due for a colon cancer screening? Don't know when you are supposed to get screened? No worries -- check out the screening guidelines here: Colon Cancer Screening Guidelines
Symptoms are another part of raising awareness. Some people experience symptoms and never go to the doctor because they are waiting for them to get better on their own or because they are afraid of the outcome. Remember, seeing your doctor early on when symptoms begins is the key to to early detection. Learn the symptom of colon cancer today.
Finally, ask yourself if you are at risk. Do you have a family history of colon cancer? Do you engage in any avoidable risks? Unsure about the risks? Check out 15 Causes of Colon Cancer for more information about the causes and risks of colon cancer.
Warm weather will be soon upon us! The drugstores are stocking a wide array of sunscreens, sunblocks, and self tanners. You may be tempted to buy a bottle or two, but then remember that you have some left over from last summer. But, is it still good?
Most people don't realize that sunscreen has a longer shelf life than you would think. It's generally about 3 years for most brands, but not all. There are some other tell-tale signs of sunscreen that should probably hit the trash bin instead of your skin. How to Tell If Your Sunscreen Has Expired
Not long ago, a reader wrote to me about a mole that had become incredibly itchy. She was concerned that because the mole had suddenly became itchy that it may be a symptom of skin cancer. She also mentioned that her mole recently changed from flat to raised. Do you think that she may be experiencing skin cancer symptoms? Check your answer here.
In the public eye, all cancers are not judged equally. For that reason, it may be difficult for some cancer patients to talk about their disease, even to the point of not tell friends and family. Recently, I received an email from a reader who is battling anal cancer is feeling shame and embarrassment because of it. Her feelings of shame have been so strong that it has prevented her from adequately coping with the diagnosis.
Cancer shame is not uncommon, especially for people with cancer that affect parts of the body that we normally don't hold conversations about with friends and family. Those suffering from colon, anal, rectal, and other types of cancer may feel embarrassed about their cancer, but shouldn't. Read more about how to cope with cancer shame....
We have all had trouble sleeping at one point or another, but when it becomes a nightly struggle, it can easily become an around the clock problem. Insomnia is a common sleep disorder among cancer caregivers. Stress can be a major cause for sleeping problems and being a caregiver can certainly be stressful!
I was a caregiver to my husband while he was undergoing cancer treatment and suffered terribly from insomnia. Suddenly, I was in a caregiver role, but also had to maintain my usual responsibilities: kids, work, and housework. I quickly became overwhelmed and stressed; it resulted in severe insomnia. No matter how hard I tried to sleep, I couldn't. When I was able to finally fall asleep, it was only for an hour or two. Sleep deprivation quickly caught up with me and I felt like I wasn't functioning at my best. Something had to give and it wasn't going to be me!
I saw my doctor and after a few different therapies, I slowly began to regain a regular sleep pattern. Looking back, I regret not seeing my doctor sooner. I, like many caregivers, didn't take enough time for myself -- including time to see my doctor. I quickly learned that to properly care for someone else, you have to take care of yourself, too.
If you are a caregiver who is battling sleep issues, like insomnia, know that there is help. Recently a reader wrote to me who was suffering from insomnia and needed some advice about what to do about it. Read my response about how caregivers can prevent and cope with insomnia.
Whenever I speak to patients about side effects of cancer treatment before treatment actually begins, they are always concerned with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and hair loss. These can all be common side effects and difficult to tolerate, but I am always surprised that there is little concern for potential fatigue. One patient explained to me that it's perfectly acceptable to be tired in public, but having diarrhea or throwing up was a whole different ballgame. Very true, but what many new patients don't realize is that fatigue is a side effect that can truly compromise your quality of life during cancer treatment. For most people, diarrhea and nausea can be controlled and managed, but fatigue is different. There is no magic pill to give you energy.
All people with cancer experience some degree of fatigue, but those going through radiation therapy are especially at risk. Fatigue can be mild to severe and there is no way to predict how treatment will affect your energy level. There are some things you can do to help prevent and fight fatigue. Learn why RT patients are prone to fatigue and what you can do to cope with it.