Saturday, March 07, 2009

Health Tips for March 7

Health Tip: Caring for Mouth Sores From Cancer Treatment

Chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer can lead to small, painful mouth sores.

The American Cancer Society offers these suggestions to help ease the pain and make it easier to eat:

  • Since brushing teeth can be painful, switch to a softer brush. And soften it with hot water before you brush.
  • Use a gentle toothpaste that doesn't contain hydrogen peroxide.
  • Rinse your mouth before and after you eat with a solution of baking soda, salt and water. Don't use commercial mouthwashes, which may irritate the sores.
  • Moisturize your lips with lotion or balm.
  • Swab the sores with Maalox or Milk of Magnesia -- if your doctor recommends it.
  • Drink beverages and liquid foods with a straw.
  • Stick to foods that are soft, moist and cold.

Health Tip: Joining a Cancer Support Group

Support groups can be a great resource for people with cancer, their families, and other loved ones.

The National Cancer Institute lists these potential benefits of joining a support group:

  • They allow patients and loved ones to express their feelings, challenges and problems to others with similar experiences.
  • They can provide an opportunity to share tips and advice on dealing with cancer and the side effects of treatment.
  • They can help patients cope with the emotional effects of cancer, which is an important part of treatment.
  • They can help friends and family deal with the stress and other emotions associated with caring for someone with cancer.

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