What might you experience ?

Finding ways of staying comfortable when you’ve got cancer is really important in order to help you recover, relax and recuperate. So, whether that’s during down-time at home, waiting in hospitals for appointments or scans, recovering after surgery, or getting some bed rest, this guide will help you find ways to make sure you’re as comfortable as possible during these times.  

This guide will cover:

  • Resting

  • Bathing

  • In Bed

  • Post Surgery

  • Staying in Hospital

 

Why does this happen?

  • Resting - When you have cancer, you may find that you have more ‘down-time’ or that you need to rest more than you used to, to help recover from the demands of cancer treatment. Sitting down for long periods can become uncomfortable after a while, so finding ways to deal with this and keep yourself occupied will really help.
  • Bathing - You may find that washing and bathing comfortably can become a bit more difficult when you have cancer due to weakness, reduced mobility and manual dexterity. To help you stay comfortable whilst bathing you may want to adapt your routine and make use of products that help compensate for the physical impact of your cancer or its treatments.
  • In Bed - If you’re spending more time in bed you need to make sure it is as comfortable as possible to avoid getting stiff, worsening of oedema and swellings or pain. If you’re not comfortable in bed you won’t be able to relax and rest, which are both crucial for helping you cope with cancer and its treatments.
  • Post Surgery - If you’ve had surgery as part of your cancer treatment you may need to take it easy for a while so finding ways of staying comfortable but also entertained whilst resting will be really important. And depending on the type of surgery you there may be additional needs which can impact on your day to day life and cause discomfort unless dealt with appropriately.   
  • Staying in Hospital - At some point in your cancer journey you’ll probably spend at least a night or two in hospital. Adjusting to a different environment can be difficult, but finding ways to stay comfortable will help you settle into your hospital stay and make it easier to cope with.

What can you do about it?

Staying comfortable whilst you're resting

Staying comfortable whilst you're resting

Cushioned lap trays - These trays have a bean bag or cushion attached underneath, making it more comfortable to rest food and drinks on your lap. Perfect for eating comfortably in your chair or on the sofa, or for resting a book, laptop or even a board game if you're up to it!

Pressure relieving cushions - If you spend a long period of time sitting, pressure can build up and leave you feeling really uncomfortable. Using a specially designed pressure relieving cushion can help to reduce the lower body and back pain that can develop from sitting down a lot.

Bamboo clothing - Wearing loose, breathable clothing that absorbs moisture will make a big difference to feeling comfortable whilst you rest. Soft, gentle fabrics such as bamboo or 100% cotton can be an excellent solution, and can help to regulate your temperature as well as reduce irritation on your skin.

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Bathing comfortably

Bathing comfortably

Bathing aids - These come in many different forms, from back cleaners to bottom wipers, so if there’s a specific task you find uncomfortable or difficult to perform, there’s likely to be a bathing aid to help make it easier.

Shower stools - If you’re feeling unsteady or have difficulty standing for your shower, a stool or shower seat could make things more comfortable and prevent wobbles or falls.

Toilet seat cushions - These are great to help make hard, cold toilet seats a bit more comfortable, especially if the pressure of the toilet seat on your buttocks makes it uncomfortable to sit down.

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Being comfortable in bed

Being comfortable in bed

Support cushions - Using support cushions to help you find comfortable resting position can prevent a whole lot of future aches and pains. If you're lying down a lot, you could probably benefit from V-shaped cushions for back support, knee cushions to relieve pressure on the knees and hips, or leg raising cushions to help ease fluid build up and the discomfort from swollen legs.

Mattress tilters - These wedge shaped blocks slide underneath your mattress to elevate it at a slight angle. When placed at the head of the bed, they can help with respiratory difficulties and acid reflux. When placed at the foot of the bed, they can relieve symptoms of oedema, varicose veins, low back pain and general fatigue.

Cooling pillows - Hot flushes and night sweats are a very common side effect of cancer medications, and a cooling gel pillow can really help to keep your temperature more comfortable. Simply pop in the fridge to chill them, then slip them into your pillowcase over your pillow. Some designs can also be heated to give relief from muscle aches and soreness.

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Being comfortable after surgery

Being comfortable after surgery

Overbed table - If you need to spend a lot of time in bed recovering after surgery, a simple overbed table will make it easier for you to do things like reading, using your laptop or eating meals.

Heel and elbow pads - Sometimes if you spend a long time in bed, the bonier parts of your body that stay in contact with the mattress can become particularly sore. One solution for this is a set of specially designed heel or elbow pads, which help to take the strain off your "pointy bits".  

Front fastening bras - For people struggling to reach behind them to fasten or remove their bras after a mastectomy or other surgery, a front fastening bra will make it much easier and more comfortable. They're also available in extra soft, breathable bamboo material, which is ideal for sensitive skin.

PICC line covers - Using a specially designed PICC line cover will keep your PICC line safe and secure, so you don’t have any annoying or uncomfortable tubes dangling down or pressing against your arm in an awkward position. It can also stop your port from snagging on fabric or clothing.

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Staying comfortable in hospital

Staying comfortable in hospital

Earplugs and eye masks - Hospital wards can be noisy places, with lights being turned on and off throughout the night. Having a good pair of earplugs and eye mask will help you get a more comfortable night’s sleep.

Adjustable slippers - Bringing a pair of slippers with you to hospital is a great way to feel a bit more at home, and you'll be more comfortable moving around the ward than in your outdoor shoes. If your feet are swollen, a pair of adjustable slippers will fit your feet as they change in size.

Tablet holder cushions - Resting your tablet on one of these handy cushions stops your lap from getting hot, and leaves your hands free to relax. No more achy wrists!

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Last but not least...

Last but not least...

Whether you're going through treatment or recovering at home, we hope you find a way to stay comfortable and get some much needed rest. 

If you have any of your own tips and tricks for getting comfortable, we'd love to hear them! You can share them with us and our whole community on our Facebook or Twitter pages, or by emailing us at theteam@livebetterwith.com.