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  • Writer's pictureCancerPal

Gift ideas for someone going through radiotherapy


If a loved one is going through radiotherapy treatment it can be especially daunting. Many of us are aware of the main side effects of chemotherapy treatment such as hair loss and nausea, but in general we seem to know a lot less about radiotherapy treatment and the side effects that come with it.


Here we provide an overview of radiotherapy treatment, describe the main side effects and importantly look at products that have been recommended to help ease these side effects.


When and why is radiotherapy used?

Radiotherapy may be used in the early stages of cancer or after it has started to spread.

It can be used to:

- try to completely cure the cancer

- make other treatments more effective – for example, it can be combined with chemotherapy or used before surgery

- relieve cancer symptoms if a cure is not possible

- reduce the risk of the cancer coming back after surgery


Radiotherapy is generally considered the most effective cancer treatment after surgery, but how well it works may vary from person to person.


As well as killing cancer cells, radiotherapy can damage some healthy cells in the area being treated which can cause a number of unwelcome side effects, such as:

- sore, sensitive, dry, itchy skin

- fatigue

- aching joints and muscles

- nausea

- loss of appetite

- a sore mouth

- upset stomach


Most side effects will pass after radiotherapy treatment stops, and thankfully there are a number of products that can be used to help during treatment.


Sore, sensitive, dry, itchy skin

One of the most common side effects of repeated exposure to the x-rays used in radiotherapy treatment is sore skin in the treatment area. Some people have no skin problems at all but others have very sore skin.


A skin reaction can make skin red, or darker in darker skinned people. It can also be sore, itchy, look like sunburn and skin might peel and blister. Skin reactions don't develop straight away but tend to appear gradually throughout the course of radiotherapy.


Advice about skin care can vary from one hospital to another and it is always best to follow the advice of the radiography team, but in general it is advisable to wash skin gently with soap and water and gently pat skin dry.


CancerPal stocks a variety of gentle skincare products that are especially suitable for radiotherapy skincare and would make a really thoughtful and practical gift for a loved one going through radiotherapy treatment.

Lindi Soothing Balm

Lindi Skincare is an American skincare range developed specifically for cancer patients. Lindi Soothing Balm is a rich, emollient, non-greasy lotion intended for extremely dry or compromised skin that can be caused by radiotherapy treatment. Thanks to astaxanthin, avocado, olive oil and shea butter in its formula, Lindi Soothing Balm protects and moisturises, delivering hydration to even the driest skin. Pharmaceutical-grade ingredients and rare botanicals make this the perfect gentle lotion to tackle the dry, cracked and flaking skin that radiotherapy can cause.



Udderly Smooth Extra Care Cream with 10% Urea

This cream is often recommended by healthcare professionals for oncology related skincare. It's a non-greasy, fragrance free, deeply moisturising cream which helps to prevent peeling and cracking of the skin, particularly during radiotherapy (and chemotherapy) treatment. Udderly Smooth Extra Care Cream contains 10% urea which is well-known for its hydrating, exfoliating and protecting properties.



MooGoo Natural Skin Milk Udder Cream

MooGoo is an Australian company and MooGoo Natural Skin Milk Udder Cream is used in oncology hospitals and clinics across Australia as a moisturising cream for dry and damaged skin following radiotherapy treatment as well as chemotherapy. The formulation uses a combination of natural soothing oils, Allantoin and Aloe Vera, as well as Milk Protein to increase skin elasticity. It easily penetrates the skin with healing ingredients and is non-greasy. We love MooGoo products because they never include any nasties, like Parabens, Phenoxyethanol or penetration enhancers in any of their products.


Lindi Skin Cooler Pad has been specially designed to help soothe and relieve radiation burns and other types of compromised skin. The reusable Cooler Pad provides on-the-spot cooling relief and moisturising effects thanks to aloe vera and green tea in its formula and would make a really thoughtful gift for anyone suffering from sore or damaged skin as a result of their radiotherapy treatment.


MooGoo Natural Milk Wash

When going through radiotherapy treatment it is recommended to wash skin with a mild, un-perfumed soap and this MooGoo Milk Wash makes a gorgeous, practical gift for anyone going through radiotherapy treatment. MooGoo choose natural cleansers that wash well without drying out the skin as well as a mix of natural skin conditioning ingredients. No essential oils that can also trigger reactions are added, but instead, a blend of Vanilla with the allergy-triggering compounds removed.



MooGoo Oncology Gift Packs

If you are looking for a skincare gift, MooGoo have created 2 oncology gift packs, containing products that their customers have been using to ease cancer related skin issues. The MooGoo Oncology Care Pack contains a 200g tube of Natural Skin Milk Udder Cream, Natural Fresh Cream Deodorant (60ml), Natural Milk Wash (500ml), Natural Cow Lick Lip Balm (5g) and a pair of Cosy Socks. The Moogoo Small Oncology Pack contains a 120g tube of Natural Skin Milk Udder Cream, Natural Fresh Cream Deodorant (60ml), and a Natural Cow Lick Lip Balm (5g) and both gift packs would make a practical and thoughtful gift for a loved one going through radiotherapy treatment.


Lindi Starter Gift Set

Lindi Skin also have a great gift pack. Their Fight Back Pack is a starter kit for sensitive or compromised skin and contains sample sizes of their Body Lotion, Body Wash, Citrus Face Serum, Lavender Face Serum, Face Moisturiser, Soothing Balm and Face Wash.




And of course if you're looking for a ready made gift box, we have also put together a range of radiotherapy skincare Care Boxes. Our radiotherapy Care Boxes are full of products to help ease the side effects of radiotherapy treatment. All of these products have been recommended by those who have experienced radiotherapy treatment.



Fatigue and exhaustion

Feeling very tired and lacking energy (fatigue) for day-to-day activities is another common side effect of radiotherapy treatment. During radiotherapy, the body uses a lot of energy dealing with the effects of radiation on normal cells. Fatigue can also be caused by travelling to daily treatment sessions and other appointments.


Radiotherapy side effects tend to build up and get worse as treatment progresses, so your loved one might not feel tired at the beginning of their treatment, but might do towards the end and for a few weeks afterwards. Some people are able to continue with their day-to-day activities, but others may find they need to rest more.


Cancer fatigue is much more than 'just needing a good night's sleep' and it can be difficult to find gifts that offer support if a loved one is suffering from cancer related fatigue, but we've got some practical and thoughtful suggestions below.

Gel Beads Migraine Wrap

Anyone going through radiotherapy treatment could benefit from using a therapeutic gel bead migraine wrap which can help promote relaxation as well as soothing headaches that can be caused by the stress and exhaustion of radiotherapy treatment. The gel beads can be heated in the microwave for warmth or chilled in the refrigerator for cold application. Soft and flexible, the gel beads mould to the contours of the forehead for optimal coverage, so you can be sure every niggling spot of discomfort will be exposed to their soothing properties. For added benefit, the band is fragranced with lavender, mandarin and geranium to help relax and unwind.


Satin Sleep Mask

Satin Sleep Mask

A satin sleep mask is an essential aid to help with fatigue and good quality rest. This comfortable sleep mask is extremely soft and kind to the skin and blocks out light to help your loved one relax at any time of day or night.



jar candle with the word relax on the front

If your loved one is suffering from fatigue brought on by radiotherapy treatment a candle is the perfect way to encourage them to take some time to rest and relax. CancerPal sells a range of natural, hand poured soy wax candles for this very reason. Plus if your loved one is suffering from tension or fatigue headaches, candlelight can be gentler on the eyes than harsh bulblight.





If you're looking for a ready made gift idea to help ease the fatigue and tiredness associated with radiotherapy treatment, we have put together a range of CancerPal Fatigue Relief Care Boxes which contain some of the items we have recommended above.




Aching joints and muscles

Aches and pains are an uncomfortable side effect of cancer and radiotherapy treatment can make the joints and muscles in the area being treated feel stiff, swollen and uncomfortable. Exercising and stretching regularly can help to prevent stiffness and if your loved one is experiencing cancer related pain, we always advise them to speak to their medical team as there are a wide range of different medicines and treatment available.


However, if your loved one is suffering from aching joints or muscles as a result of their radiotherapy treatment, you may want to consider a pain management gift, which is sure to be gratefully received.


Boswellia Joint Pain Balm

Boswellia balm is a soothing natural cream specifically designed to target muscle and joint soreness. Based on wonderfully rich boswellia incense, this balm encourages flexible and pain free joints whilst providing a calming fragrance. Boswellia balm is manufactured in Swiss laboratories and is inspired by an ancient recipe from Buddhist monks. Containing valuable extracts of boswellia serrata incense from India, the balm has been clinically proven to reduce joint swelling and pain as well as increasing suppleness.

Soothing Muscle Balm


Made for Life Soothing Muscle Balm is a warming balm will soothe aching muscles and joints - naturally. Rosemary stimulates blood circulation and reduces swelling whilst German Chamomile, Calendula and Lavender calm and soothe.



Warming Shoulder Wrap


This comforting shoulder wrap is re-useable and gently moulds to the shape of the neck and shoulders. When warmed the neck and shoulder wrap is ideal for relaxation, increasing circulation and pain relief from the aches and pains that can be caused from radiotherapy treatment. The neck and shoulder wrap can also be used It can be used as a cooling compress to help reduce swelling and fevers.



Nausea, Upset Stomach and Loss of Appetite

Nausea can be another unpleasant side effect of radiotherapy treatment. Generally speaking this is more likely to happen if the area being treated is the brain or is near the stomach. Feeling sick and tired during radiotherapy can affect the appetite, which could lead to weight loss.


Nausea can also be caused by the emotional stress of cancer treatment or as a result of the tiredness and fatigue that radiotherapy can cause.


If your loved one is suffering from nausea we have written a series of separate blog articles on this. Generally, mint, ginger and citrus flavours and scents can help. We've also included below a summary of some of our more popular products recommended by other patients and their loved ones that would make a thoughtful gift for anyone suffering from treatment related nausea.


Queasy Drops Plus

Queasy Drops Plus have been recommended to us by many cancer patients to help ease the nausea associated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments and make a very practical gift. Queasy Drops Plus can also help with a dry mouth which can be another unwelcome side effect of radiotherapy treatment. Developed by health care professionals, Queasy Drops Plus contain powerful essential oils, they are safe and natural, drug free, and 100% safe for children and adults.


Gin Gins Chewy Ginger Sweets

For well over 2,500 years the stem of ginger has been used to treat gastrointestinal upsets, as well as joint and muscle pain and ginger is frequently recommended as a natural remedy to help with the dreadful effects of nausea. More recently ginger has been clinically proven to ease cancer related nausea.

Gin Gins is the world’s most award-winning ginger brand and America’s leading supplier of all natural and organic ginger ingredients and Gin Gins Chewy Ginger Sweets are our most popular selling ginger sweets.



Vermints

Mint is also commonly used to help relieve nausea and mint has also been clinically proven to ease cancer related nausea. We choose to include these lovely tins of Vermints in many of our Care Boxes. The name 'Vermint' comes from the Latin word 'Ver'. It means 'true. VerMints are True Mints. They are honest and they are clean because Vermints have ditched all the unpleasant, health-harming, chemically-modified ingredients that you usually find in mints and made super tasty mints from nature and nature only.


anti-nausea wrist bands

These anti-nausea wrist bands are also very popular to relieve treatment related nausea. Acupressure is the technique of applying pressure to the acupoints and meridians and according to Chinese medicine, the Pericardium 6 (P6 or PC6), is considered the most important point in the management of nausea. Pericardium 6 is located three finger breadths below the wrist on the inner forearm and these elasticated anti-nausea wrist bands operate by applying pressure on the Pericardium 6 acupressure point on each wrist by means of a plastic stud. There is strong clinical evidence around the effectiveness of acupressure in reducing cancer related nausea and these anti-nausea wrist bands would make a practical gift for a loved one suffering with any form of radiotherapy related nausea.



QueaseEase Inhaler

QueaseEase nausea relief blend is a combination of four powerful essential oils to manage feelings of nausea and queasiness. It is made with pure essential oils, is non-prescription and starts to work immediately. It's also natural and non-habit forming and would make a great for a loved one suffering from radiotherapy related nausea.






We frequently work with Alyx from the Centre for Cancer Nutrition who is a fantastic source of knowledge and information. We have some recipes and recommendations in our blog section from Alyx for nausea but you'll be able to find further information and many more recipes on the Centre for Cancer Nutrition website. You could print some of these off and include them in your personalised care box - your loved one will then know where to go to find more information and recipes.


Our Nausea Relief Care Boxes are also really popular as gifts for loved ones experiencing cancer related nausea. Whilst not specific to radiotherapy, our Nausea Relief Care Boxes contain a variety of products that have been recommended to help ease general cancer related nausea.





CancerPal Radiotherapy Care Boxes


If you are looking for a ready made gift box to give to a loved one going through radiotherapy treatment, CancerPal stocks a wide range of Radiotherapy Care Boxes. We have conducted extensive product research and developed a number of radiotherapy specific Care Boxes containing products to help ease the side effects of radiotherapy treatment. All of these products have been recommended by those who have experienced radiotherapy treatment.


We can send our Care Boxes directly to your loved one with your hand written message on our exclusive 'Here For You' postcard and all Care Boxes are sent out in plain packaging - there's no mention of cancer or radiotherapy anywhere on the outside of the box.

 

We hope you find the above suggestions helpful. CancerPal stocks a wide range of ready made Radiotherapy Care Boxes as well as many of the products mentioned above.


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