Patients Share Cancer ‘Life Hacks’ They Learned During Treatment


We asked our audience what life hacks they learned to make cancer treatment a bit easier. Here’s what they had to say.

Patients with cancer can learn a lot throughout their time in treatment — from the lengthy names of medications to medical terms, and even ways to make their experience easier. In a recent #CUREConnect question on social media, CURE® asked its audience, comprised of patients, survivors and caregivers to those with cancer, “What’s a cancer life hack you learned during treatment?”

Here’s what they had to say:

“My daughter gave me the best gift to take along on my cancer journey last year: my beloved chemo bag! A huge, off-white canvas carrier, it became my lifeline for the trips to my treatment center. I filled it with items lovingly supplied by family and friends: warm blanket; fluffy socks; lip balm; ear buds; yummy snacks; a trusted, lime-green water flask. I packed it the night before infusion so I could grab it and dash. It's stored in a spare bedroom. Sometimes I miss that big tote bag.” — Doris S.

READ MORE: What to Bring in Your Cancer Treatment Bag

The following quote on cartoon notebook paper: "Have a gratitude journal. It is helpful when initially challenged to focus solely on the negatives." -Tamera Anderson-Hanna

One survivor said that keeping a gratitude journal helps bring her attention away from the negatives.

“Have a gratitude journal. It is helpful when initially challenged to focus solely on the negatives. Use it daily.” — Tamera Anderson-Hanna, a breast cancer survivor and CURE® contributor.

“When you’re newly diagnosed, or approaching a scan and sleeping seems impossible without all the scary thoughts, use an app like Better Sleep to tell you bedtime stories or guide you through a meditations.” — Nicky H.

“This maybe common knowledge to others, but it took me awhile to figure it out. A nurse told me to ask the doctor to prescribe a lidocaine cream to use on my port to avoid pain when they access it with that big Huber needle. I put it on before I leave the house because it takes at least 30 (minutes) to numb the area. Another nurse told me to use plastic wrap to cover it because it soaks into gauze. Another nurse gave me some medical tape to tape it in place. (If it slides around the wrong place gets numb!) Thank goodness for nurses who help patients along the way. It’s the little things!” — Kelly Irvin, an ovarian cancer survivor and CURE® contributor.

“Reminders, reminders and more reminders. There’s so much to keep track of on any given day, but with ‘chemo brain,’ don’t feel inadequate if you need a lot of reminders written on a calendar or set up on your smartphone.” — Traci A., a breast cancer survivor.

“I always wear shirts (with) easy port access like a button-up or tank. I also bring my (Beats headphones because) they have noise canceling and some people still use speaker phone in waiting room (I know right!).” — Michelle T., a breast cancer survivor.

For more news on cancer updates, research and education, don’t forget to subscribe to CURE®’s newsletters here.

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