By Hannah Zao
It can almost seem impossible to know which products work and don’t work when the internet is saturated with so many options. Especially for cancer patients looking for products that can alleviate the side effects of treatment, it is hard to know which products are backed by facts and science, and which ones just carry a hefty price tag for no reason. I’ve sat down (virtually) with Dr. Katie Deming, board-certified Radiation Oncologist, to discuss which 5 products are her go-to when it comes to treating her radiation patients. With an estimated 3.4 million cancer patients who are undergoing, or have undergone radiation therapy in 2020 according to a study by the American Association for Cancer Research, this quick and easy guide is here to help all those patients who have spent one too many hours, or a few too many hundred dollars on ineffective products and research. You can also save some time in researching the validity of these products: Dr. Katie Deming is here to personally explain why these 5 staple products work!1. Miaderm Radiation Cream
Buy at: https://www.miaderm.com/
Miaderm Radiation Relief Lotion is used for the prevention and relief of radiation dermatitis. One of the most uncomfortable side effects of radiation therapy is the skin reaction in the area being treated. Similar to a sunburn the skin may react with a mild to moderate pink color, or redness accompanied by itching, burning, soreness, and peeling. The key ingredients in Miaderm are calendula, hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid), and aloe vera which have been clinically proven to be effective in phase III prospective randomized trials published in peer reviewed scientific journals. The sole purpose of Miaderm is to help decrease the skin effects through preventative care.
Why Dr. Deming loves Miaderm:
This is hands down my favorite radiation cream. In fact, it is the only thing I let my patients use during radiation. I’ve personally seen a significant difference in my patients’ skin reactions since recommending Miaderm. Confirmation that this cream really was making a difference for my patients came from a physical therapist at my hospital. She called the clinic to ask what I was doing differently with my patients. She noticed that the skin reactions for my patients were better than before and better than the other radiation oncologists in my clinic. Today, every radiation oncologist in our clinic recommends Miaderm to their patients. An added bonus? This cream is non-greasy, and absorbs into the skin really well. Unlike other lotions and creams, this one will not stain clothing after application.
2. SUMMERSKIN™ Sun Protective Clothing/Wraps
Buy at: https://yoursummerskin.com
It is recommended that you keep your skin in the treatment area out of the sun during radiation, and for about 6 months afterward. Sun protective clothing is a great way to achieve a greater level of sun protection rather than just using sunscreen. Not all clothing protects you from UVA rays which penetrate into the skin more deeply. Sun protective clothing protects against both UVA and UVB rays. SUMMERSKIN™ is designed by a pharmacist, Summer Kramer who refuses to add any unnecessary chemicals to her clothing. The UPF in SUMMERSKIN™ is achieved by a blend of the thickness of the fabric, tightness of the weave, and color. It is totally safe and the sun protection lasts the lifetime of the garment.
Why Dr. Deming loves SUMMERSKIN™Your Summer Skin is my favorite sun protective clothing line. I love the Dolman top (pictured above). It is hard to find tops that provide sun protection over the entire radiation area, specifically since many tops are cut too low and leave the upper chest unprotected. The Dolman provides just the right amount of coverage. I also love the ‘Endless Summer Wrap. You can use it to cover your upper chest, or even drape it over an area that is exposed to the sun when you are driving or sitting outside.
3. Circle of Hope Meditations
Meditation is a really great way to calm anxiety during cancer treatment. Circle of Hope was founded by Dr. Ellen Cooke, a board-certified radiation oncologist. She has created amazing collections of meditations to help patients throughout the radiation process, along with other parts of their cancer experience. The website has a free 10-day guided meditation series for cancer patients that I love. Memberships are also just $5/month for access to more Circle of Hope content.
Why Dr. Deming loves Circle of Hope:
As a person who meditates daily, I am a firm believer in the benefits of meditation. It is such a powerful tool to calm your nervous system and help you feel more grounded. My patients are often overwhelmed by anxiety and stress related to their diagnosis. I am a HUGE fan of Circle of Hope. They have a free 10-day guided meditation series for cancer patients. This series is great for anyone who is new to meditation or an experienced meditator looking for meditations specific to the stresses encountered during the cancer experience. I have sent many patients to Circle of Hope and have heard nothing but positive feedback.
4. Cancer Champion Fitness Program
Access at: https://cancerchampionfitness.com
Exercise during radiation is really important. Studies have shown that women who exercise during chemotherapy and radiation have less fatigue and lower rates of recurrence. However, some cancer patients are turned off of the idea of going to gyms or studios to work out. Cancer Champion Fitness is a great way to exercise during and after cancer therapy in the privacy of your own home. Their team includes an amazing trainer and founder Jen Miramontes as well as nutritionists. They create personalized packages for each individual. Their website offers pricing on various deals.
Why Dr. Deming loves Cancer Champion Fitness:
There are two things I am adamant about with my patients: using the right radiation cream and exercise. Before starting radiation, I explain to my patients that exercise is not only going to help with fatigue, it is also going to make the treatment work better. I then make sure they have a plan to exercise 150 min per week (recommended duration of exercise for cancer patients). In addition, I check in with them weekly to make sure they are following their exercise plan. Many patients are surprised that I take exercise so seriously, but it really is a no-brainer. If we are going to treat with radiation, we better do everything we know to increase the chances of curing the cancer. Cancer Champion Fitness is a great option for patients who want some help developing and following an exercise routine. This is an especially needed service while many gyms are closed due to COVID-19.
5. MAKEMERRY™ Bras
Buy at: https://shopmakemerry.com
MAKEMERRY™ is the first line of soft, stylish, sexy bras meticulously designed for women receiving radiation. They feature ultra-soft Pima cotton fabric, wire free support, pockets for modesty pads or prostheses, and hidden seams technology. There are two styles available: The Plunge Bra has a plunging neck line and the Full Coverage Bra provides more coverage for larger breasts or layering.
Why Dr. Deming loves MAKEMERRY™:
MAKEMERRY is a line of bras that I designed for my own patients. As a radiation oncologist, I never intended to design bras, but I was frustrated by the lack of options that felt comfortable against my patients' sensitive skin. I created MAKEMERRY™ because I want women receiving radiation to have something that not only feels great, but looks stylish too. Our bras are designed with love to help make radiation just a little bit easier.
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