Top Tips: Curated support and resources ↗

Practical Top Tips

Some wonderful members of our Little Lifts Community who have benefited from our support have shared their top tips for looking after yourself during treatment.

  • You cannot over-moisturise!
  • Wear gloves for cold hands during radiotherapy.
  • Wear dark underwear so the pen they use on your body doesn’t end up all over your underwear.
  • If driving to treatment, create a playlist of songs you like to sing really loudly!
  • The notebook I use to document how I am feeling every day, as the days become mixed as you look back. Useful if you need to tell the nurse.
  • Talking to those other people in the waiting room. We shared tips and experiences.
  • Take each day as it comes, I struggled to drink water, but I was thirsty, eating pineapple chunks helped as they contain an enzyme that helps boost glands in the mouth.
  • Stock up on soda water – I couldn’t stomach still water on chemo.
  • Start moisturising a week before treatment. Keep drinking plenty of water.
  • Say yes when people offer help. You don’t have to do this alone. The best thing for me is to see my friends when I don’t feel like seeing them. If you lose your hair, embrace the change. I didn’t get a wig, I bought beautiful statement headbands instead. They make me feel like I’m wearing a crown!
  • Rubbing corn starch on the radiated areas of the breast helped reduce redness and discomfort. I used a Chemo Mouthpiece to cool my mouth during the first 4 heavy chemo sessions. It helped preserving my taste and also reduced the sensitivity. I am currently doing cryotherapy to lessen chances of neuropathy caused by Paclitaxel. I made my own reusable ice gel packs (I filled them with the stuff inside disposable nappies) – cheap and super effective. I try and walk daily as it helps to keep my peristaltic movement active.
  • Rich Tea biscuits to help with nausea!
  • Rest, rest, and more rest!
  • Regarding hair loss, when it starts to come out, don’t be afraid to gently brush it every day as I was, as it will become tangled and matted which makes it even worse! Also, I used ‘polybalm’ on my fingers and toes to prevent damage to my nails. It is quite pricey at about £40 but it really works! I apply it twice a day and they look healthy & strong!
  • Putting your tube of cream in the fridge.
  • Prepare in advance. Get as much information as you can about coping with side effects such as nausea and hair loss. Make sure you have support ready from family and friends.
  • Plenty of rest and don’t give up!
  • Pineapple juice or fresh pineapple helps with the taste of chemo mouth. Gets your saliva glands going.
  • Obviously having no respite from the chemo – we take it as long as it works. Top tip – to keep grazing throughout the day, little and often. Keep a notepad and write anything down about how you are feeling, your worries, your highs. It really helps and if you have secondary breast cancer then get in touch with make2ndscount, they really are lovely girls on there.
  • My top tips for the nausea I had with AC would be buttered crumpets and sparkling water and ice (when all other water tastes awful).
  • My top tip would be to try to get outdoors at least once a day. Go for a short walk or even just sit outside in the fresh air if you’re not up to walking. It was important for me to try to keep ‘bed days’ to a minimum and to get a little bit of enjoyment out of even the very darkest of days.
  • My top tip for helping with mouth ulcers is oil pulling with coconut oil. I also changed from using an electric toothbrush to a non-electric soft one. I used non-metallic interdental brushes to clean between my teeth after each meal and a good mouthwash.
  • Good luck and remember, you’ve got this!
  • Lip balms and hand creams are essential to those who are suffering with dry skin.
  • Keep hydrated and remember taking care of yourself is productive!
  • Keep a t-shirt rolled up in the freezer. Then when you have a hot flush (I’ve had lots) I just whip it out and use it as a cold compress.
  • I like to use natural skin products. Outside of the box my fave is Neals Yard Cedar & Rosemary head treatment. Rubbed in and a warm beanie. Lovely.
  • I keep the little token I received in my box on my kitchen windowsill to remind me every day to be kind to myself, as it’s so easy to forget that we need to give ourselves a break during this difficult time.
  • I joined an online Facebook Group that was just for women with my type of breast cancer (triple negative invasive carcinoma). This is a positive site based in the UK and Ireland and is a very loving supportive group.
  • I haven’t started my treatment yet but I’m hearing frozen grapes are good to eat whilst having chemo to protect the mouth as much as possible from mouth ulcers. I’ve also heard black nail polish helps you not to loose your nails. I will be trying both of these!
  • I have had an air diffuser on with essentials oils helping with the change of smell, so far this has helped!
  • I get a lot of mouth problems, soreness, oral thrush and horrible taste. Ice lollies definitely help with soreness.
  • I found a company called Beauty Despite Cancer.com. I found Jennifer Young hair balm is amazing, and has helped me with my really sore scalp especially after my hair loss.
  • I actually found the book The Chemotherapy Survival Guide the most useful purchase during my treatment. If people do not know of it, it’s an easy no-scary and judgemental (which some cancer books can be) read.
  • Having access to the Paxman cold cap has been amazing to reduce hair loss. 
  • Frozen grapes during infusion has been wonderful to reduce mouth ulcers. Bringing fruit juice squash to chemo helps deal with funny tastes. I am taking lifemel honey during chemo and multi-vitamin mineral probiotic tablets. I have taken the tablets for years. This specific honey is meant to help boost the immune system during chemo. I couldn’t stomach it until two weeks after chemo.
  • Go for an early morning radiotherapy slot if you have the option and are able to, reduces chances of delays.
  • For treatment of post-radiotherapy skin, put your moisturiser in the fridge before use.
  • Finely chop fresh root ginger, pop into ice cube trays, top up with water and freeze. If you feel nauseous, simply pop a ginger ice cube into a mug and pour over boiling water for ginger tea!
  • Accept every offer of help no matter how small it is! Even if it’s someone looking after the kids for an hour. It’ll give you or your partner a break and the kids will enjoy the memories.
  • Drink plenty of water and talk openly to your team if you’re suffering.
  • Bringing headphones for music, podcast, ebook as you get drowsy when you are given Piriton.
  • Applying in the morning and night zero base cream in the breast and let it dry. It takes away the pain and discomfort from the radiotherapy. Drinking water with ice cubes during each chemo session prevents mouth sores and infections in the throat.
  • A friend recommended sipping pineapple juice to keep the mouth hydrated, but I found it a little too acidic for my sore mouth. I had been sipping pressed coconut water, which is bland when your sense of taste is so poor. But mix them together and it’s perfect! Almost like a virgin pina colada!
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for a PICC line if your veins are very small. It is absolutely painless to insert and is brilliant. If you have chronic acid reflux ask for meds quickly. Also, alter your diet ASAP. Small, frequent meals, and I found Fage 5% plain yogurt had a remarkable effect.