What's the Best Way to Avoid Germs During Cancer Treatment?
Did you know...
One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime?
Just like with any cancer, the earlier breast cancer is caught, the better chance you have at survival, which is why early detection is so important. Early detection starts with education. Do some research, talk to your doctor, and get checked regularly. In this blog, you'll find the information we pulled from our most trusted sources.
You can't prevent cancer, but there are risk factors to be aware of. Risk factors that can't be changed include age, race, family history, personal health history, early menstruation, and late menopause (after 55). However, there are a few risk factors that are avoidable. Here is a list pulled from the NBCF website:
- Lack of physical activity: A sedentary lifestyle with little physical activity can increase your risk of breast cancer.
- Poor diet: A diet high in saturated fats and lacking fruits and vegetables can increase your risk of breast cancer.
- Being overweight or obese: Being overweight or obese can increase your risk of breast cancer. Your risk is increased if you have already gone through menopause.
- Drinking alcohol: Frequent consumption of alcohol can increase your risk of breast cancer. The more alcohol you consume, the greater the risk.
- Radiation to the chest: Having radiation therapy to the chest before the age of 30 can increase your risk for breast cancer.
- Combined Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): Taking combined hormone replacement therapy, as prescribed for menopause, can increase your risk for breast cancer and increases the risk that cancer will be detected at a more advanced stage.
Keep in mind, 60–70 percent of those diagnosed with breast cancer have no connection to these risk factors, which leaves at least 30 percent of patients with known risk factors.
What's the best way to avoid germs during cancer treatment?
We've talked about what we can and can't do to lower our chances of a breast cancer diagnosis, but what about what we can do during treatment? Believe it or not, there are plenty of things you can be aware of and proactive about if you're on the receiving end of cancer treatment.
Chemotherapy can lower the number of white blood cells in your body, making it harder than normal for your body to fight off infection. EverydayHealth.com provides a list of ways you can avoid post-chemo infections:
- Wash your hands frequently. Be especially diligent about washing before and after eating, using the bathroom, and touching animals or children. Doctors recommend washing for 20 seconds with soap and warm water.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Some chemotherapy patients experience a loss of appetite, nausea, and subsequent weight loss. In such cases, it's important to work with a dietitian to ensure a good diet and adequate calorie intake. Protein is especially important because it is a basic building block used by your immune system to prevent and fight infections. Regarding supplements, there are no specific recommendations, but many physicians advise their patients to take a multivitamin to ensure that they get the necessary vitamins and minerals.
- Be aware of food and safety issues. Careful food handling is important to avoid illness. Cook meat and poultry—and marinades, if necessary—thoroughly to kill any bacteria and other microorganisms that may be contained in raw foods, and be careful to avoid contaminating kitchen surfaces, cutting boards, and cooking utensils with raw meat juices. Additionally, steer clear of raw foods, like fish, seafood, meat, and eggs.
- Take care of your teeth and gums. Brush your teeth after meals and before bedtime, using an extra-soft toothbrush that won't hurt your gums.
- Cultivate healthy skin. Keep your skin hydrated and moisturized. Dry, cracked skin is more likely to break and become susceptible to infections. Furthermore, squeezing or scratching pimples can create open sores that would also place you at higher risk for infection.
- Keep your body clean. Take a warm bath or shower every day and be sure to gently clean your rectal area after you use the toilet.
- Stay away from people who are sick. Because chemotherapy makes you more vulnerable to infections, it's important to avoid people who have colds, the flu, chicken pox, measles, and other contagious illnesses. It's also a good idea to steer clear of people who have recently had a live-virus vaccination, such as chicken pox and polio vaccines.
- Avoid accidents and injuries. Wear gloves when gardening. Be careful when handling sharp objects, and shave with an electric razor to prevent cuts. In the unfortunate event you do get cut, scraped, or otherwise injured, be sure to clean the area with warm water and an antiseptic. The quicker you clean and cover the injury, the less risk there will be of infection.
PhoneSoap was created protect against illness-causing germs. The average smartphone is 18x dirtier than a public restroom, and one in six phones are found with fecal matter. Our germy phone poses more of a risk than most think. Our products can be found in hospitals and medical centers all over the country, joining the fight against infection in those who are the most susceptible.
For the entire month of October, PhoneSoap will donate $1 for every order placed on phonesoap.com back to National Breast Cancer Foundation. To learn more about how to start your own fundraiser and where these funds will go, check out their fundraising page here.