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’ve got 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 it’s 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 your 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 making 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 them on your lap, perfect for eating comfortably in your chair or sofa   

Pressure relieving cushions - If you spend a long period of time sitting, pressure can build up and leave you feeling really uncomfortable so using a specially designed pressure relieving cushion will ease this discomfort

Bamboo clothing - Wearing loose, breathable clothing that absorbs moisture such as bamboo will make a big difference to feeling comfortable whilst you rest

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 struggling to stand for your shower then using a stool or shower seat could help you manage showering more comfortably

Toilet seat cushions - These are great to help make the hard, cold toilet seats a bit more comfortable, especially if the pressure of the toilet seat on your buttocks is causing you discomfort

Being comfortable in bed

Being comfortable in bed

Support Cushions - Use support cushions to help you find a position that’s most comfortable in bed, including specifically designed V-shaped cushions for back support, knee cushions to relieve pressure on the knees and hips as-well-as leg raising cushions to help ease fluid build up and the discomfort from swollen legs

Mattress Tilters - These raise the head-end or foot-end of the mattress giving a bit of elevation which some people find more comfortable than lying flat  

Cooling pillows - Cooling pillows can help alleviate the discomfort caused by hot flushes helping you stay cool and comfortable in bed

Being comfortable after surgery

Being comfortable after surgery

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

Back-rest - If you’re finding it difficult to sit up in bed after surgery or are fed up of re-arranging pillows to keep yourself propped up, then try using an adjustable back-rest to help you find and maintain a more comfortable position   

Front fastening bras - For people struggling to reach behind them to fasten or remove their bras, a front fastening bra will make it much easier and more comfortable

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  

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 so having a good pair of earplugs and eye mask will help you get a more comfortable night’s sleep

Adjustable slippers - Bring a pair of slippers with you for moving around the ward instead of having to wear your shoes all day. If you’re feet are swollen then adjustable slippers will accommodate any changes to feet size due to swelling  

Tablet cushions/holders - Use one of these to rest your tablet or laptop on so you’re not resting it directly on your lap  stopping your lap from getting hot and making it more comfortable