Summer days are famous for warm weather, sunshine, outdoor activities and long vacations. However, for someone battling cancer, uncertainty can present multiple challenges when planning for summer events. While cancer treatment doesn’t take a “summer break,” it is possible to enjoy summer and maintain consistent treatment.
Continuing to enjoy life during treatment is important to helping maintain a positive attitude and can be a key factor in cancer treatments. The Toledo Clinic Cancer Center, which announced a partnership with Karmanos Cancer Institute earlier this year, works to provide their patients with tools to enjoy life while in treatment. Both institutions offer support services and resources to ensure that patients can maintain their quality of life during cancer treatment.
“When treatment becomes the only thing in a patient’s life, it’s difficult for them to continue to fight. That’s why we encourage our patients to keep us aware of how treatment is making life challenging,” said Toledo Clinic oncologist Dr. Rex Mowat.
While doctors want their patients to maintain as much normalcy as possible, they realize that treatment comes with some challenges that patients must recognize.
To keep their patients from feeling like they are fighting alone, the doctors at the Toledo Clinic Cancer Center and the Karmanos Cancer Institute suggest support groups for both patients and family members. In 2020, many support groups went virtual, making it possible to take support on the go. “The ability to meet with a support group conveniently, from their own home, can boost mental health. Cancer has the power to change a life, but it also has the power to unite those who are fighting together,” said Justin Klamerus, M.D., president of the Karmanos Cancer Hospital & Network.
While focusing on mental health is important, the Toledo Clinic Cancer Center doctors also encourage patients to recognize the physical challenges that come with undergoing cancer treatment during the warm weather months.
For example, many cancer treatments affect how a person reacts to the sun. For cancer patients, the medications they take often increase the risks associated with sun exposure. Proper use of a 50 SPF or higher sunscreen can help prevent sunburn and other potential complications of sun exposure. Hats and clothing that block UV rays are also a good option for helping patients enjoy the warm weather activities they love.
The sun isn’t the only challenge cancer patients face with their skin. Their treatments can affect their skin, leaving it dry or causing rashes or tears. Consistent use of a fragrance-free, sensitive skin creams, lotions or balms can help with dryness or any rashes that arise.
Dr. Mowat also mentioned that hydration is important. For cancer patients, checking with their doctor to ensure proper hydration is vital all year long, but during the summer it is even more important.
“The increased temperatures and the way treatments affect how a body absorbs what the patient takes in can affect hydration levels. Staying aware is very important,” Dr. Mowat said.
While cancer may have changed how you enjoy your summer, with the proper planning it is still possible to enjoy the warmer days and your friends and family.
The doctors at the Toledo Clinic Cancer Center offer the very best in specialized cancer care during the summer and all year round. To schedule an appointment contact them at (419) 479-5605.