The what-do-I-wear questions multiply when you are preparing for chemotherapy treatment. However, a little planning ahead of time can reduce the stress you feel about preparing for your treatment. At Care+Wear, we understand that it is hard to know what clothes to wear in order to be comfortable and warm during those long hours of chemotherapy treatments. After all, sitting in a cold hospital, with a port or PICC line attached to various parts of your body, is uncomfortable. Your sensitivity is already enhanced and you going through the treatment itself is ordeal enough – the last thing you want to do is worry about if you’re wearing the right thing! In order to help you combat these issues, we have researched what clothes would be appropriate and convenient for chemo treatment while making you feel great about yourself. Check out these great options and feel free to let us know if you have any other tips, we want to hear from you!
The most common side effect of chemotherapy treatment is fatigue. This means that you will frequently feel a need to rest or nap during the day. Hence, you should wear clothing that does not wrinkle easily and cloths that are loose-fitting to help you feel comfortable all day long for when ever the fatigue hits you. For instance, wear pajamas style or other short or loose sleeve shirts that provides easy access to your arm if you have a PICC line. Believe it or not, just getting dressed and undressed can be tiring so wear clothes that are designed to access your Port or PICC line without having to dis-robe. Also, for women, we suggest wearing comfortable low-heeled or flat shoes. You can also wear yoga pants or sweat pants with a drawstring that are light-weight to make yourself feel comfortable. Luckily, Athleisure is in! So, you shouldn’t have a problem finding a comfortable pant that also makes you feel good about yourself.
It is highly likely that both chemotherapy and radiation therapy sessions will increase your skin's sensitivity to sunlight, especially those parts of your body that will now be more often exposed to UV rays. Therefore, it is essential for you to wear clothes that help you avoid UV exposure and protect your skin from sunlight. You can do this by wearing long-sleeves shirts, hats, pants and long skirts while you are outside or running errands. Also, it is important to choose tightly woven fabrics and to use accessories like scarves to cover your chest, throat and neck from additional sunlight. In addition, it is recommended to wear sunglasses when you get a chance to go outside for fresh air on a sunny day.
Hair Loss is one of the most well known side effects of chemotherapy treatment. In order to help you slow hair loss resulting from chemotherapy we recommend cold cap treatment. Cold cap treatment is a hair-saving treatment that requires wearing a specialized frozen cap tightly on the head before, during and after a chemo session. For instance, you can purchase the Penguin cold cap, which is an ice pack fitted tightly to your head. As Dr. Cigler, a Weill Cornell oncologist, reports, this therapy is “really empowering to many patients by allowing patients to maintain their self-esteem and their sense of well-being during a really difficult time.”
You may experience either weight gain or weight loss depending on the type of treatment you are receiving whether it is chemotherapy or steroid treatment. In both cases, it is recommended for you to wear clothes that are loose and unstructured instead of those that are strictly tailored to allow for the changes that your body is going through. Also, crew necks and other round neckline shirts are good options that will provide the illusion of fullness from rapid weight loss if this is something with which you are struggling. Feeling healthy and like yourself is important, especially during this time.
Dry and sensitive skin is a common side effect of both chemotherapy and radiation treatments during treatment and after your treatment is completed. Therefore, it is recommended for you to avoid wearing clothes made with irritating fabrics such as wool and roughly woven fibers. Instead, you should choose clothing that is made with fabrics like cotton, silk and rayon that will help your skin to ‘breathe’ and also not feel too itchy. Also for this same reason, avoid wearing a lot of jewelry that can scratch or irritate your skin.
Hospitals can often be very cold and chemotherapy can only increase your sensitivity to extreme temperatures because of a number of side effects including neuropathy – a type of nerve damage, weight loss and low blood platelets. We recommend bringing or wearing warm socks and slip-on shoes during your chemotherapy sessions. These are cozy and perfect options that will keep you warm and your feet covered, especially if you want to take a walk around the hospital or need to go to the bathroom. Heavy socks are great because you can wash them between treatment sessions.
According to the American Cancer Society, a stoma is a surgically created opening in the body when the normal opening is blocked by a tumor or has been altered as part of cancer treatment. If you have to get a stoma, we recommend wearing loose-fitting drawstring or light tops, elasticized skirts and pants that will help you feel comfortable. It is also crucial not to wear any clothes that are too tightly binding and can cut across against the stoma, including tight underwear and belts.
Both the Port-A-Cath and the Central Venous Catheter (CVC line) create a few special dressing considerations. Therefore it is essential for you to avoid wearing clothes that might clip or puncture the line, like pins and front closure bras. Hence, it is highly recommended to wear low-cut cotton camisole with built-in bras. Built-in bras will provide you more relaxed support than an actual bra, and will give you some cleavage control. Also, you can wear a button-down, V-neck or scoop neck shirt that will make port access easier.
A common way to receive chemotherapy is through a PICC line (peripherally inserted central catheter). A PICC line is a semi-permanent IV that you can get to avoid having to a new IV for each treatment. You can learn more on why patients get a PICC line in a great blog post by one of our nurse ambassadors. Care+Wear makes an ultra-soft, antimicrobial, reusable PICC line cover for patients living with PICC lines. On our website, you can check out our fashionable covers with wide range of colors from Fuchsia, Mango, Marine, Lime, Black and Slate. Not only can it help cover the PICC line while you’re not receiving treatment but the colors could help you feel more like yourself while you are undergoing treatment! You can learn more on PICC lines and the Care+Wear PICC line covers on our blog!
We wanted to create a solution for those living with a Port that would provide for ease of access during treatment while maintaining the comfort and support that patients have come to love with our PICC line covers. And so we are excited to share that we are working on two amazing solutions for patients with a Port. Stay tuned for sneak peaks and pre-order information. We’re excited to come out with another product for you or a loved one to be a person first, patient second.
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