Cancer treatments result in a number of side effects including severe energy loss, depression, skin impairments, hair loss, nausea and change of appetite; however, there are many ways that caregivers can help to buffer these symptoms and make their loved one feel more comfortable.

Skin Problems: Cancer patients are at risk for numerous treatment- and disease-related skin impairments. Caregivers can help these skin problems by encouraging the use of sunscreen, helping to protect affected areas from trauma, and keeping skin clean and dry.

Hair Loss: Caregivers can encourage the purchase of a wig prior to treatment (in order to match hair color to a wig), and can minimize hair loss by using baby shampoo, a soft hairbrush, and minimizing hair washing.

Depression: If depression is suspected, contact a mental health professional. Also be sure to have health care providers review all medications for depressive side effects.

Fighting Nausea: Nausea is a common side effect of chemotherapy but can be helped with anti-nausea medications, avoiding greasy or spicy foods, and eating smaller meals more frequently. Letting an in-home care agency or meal delivery service do the cooking can also help if cooking smells cause nausea.

Listening: The easiest and often best gift a caregiver can give to a cancer victim is communication. There are no right or wrong ways of communicating and often just having you be there, perhaps giving a hug or holding hands, is enough to show a loved one that you care. Be prepared for your loved one to talk about the illness if he or she chooses, and more than anything else, be ready to lend an open ear.

Contact Live Free Home Health Care in Concord today at 603-217-0149 for further guidance on caring for a loved one with cancer and options that can give you a welldeserved break.