The effects that cancer treatment can have on a person’s skin have long been overlooked. But patients who have suffered through skin rashes and burns will be glad to know that a growing trend in treating cancer focuses on curing both the disease and helping patients maintain their self-esteem and quality of life. A new movement combining oncology and dermatology aims to address both the disease and the potentially negative consequences that rashes, burns and blemishes can produce.
“For obvious reasons, the skin, hair, and nails have not been the topmost concerns in oncology — the most important goal is to treat and cure the cancer,” says Mario Lacouture, M.D., who specializes in dermatologic conditions that result from cancer treatments. “But skin side effects can affect patients’ sense of self and their interactions with others. These side effects can lead to costly treatments, affect overall health, and perhaps most significantly, they may require that anticancer treatments be reduced or stopped altogether.”
Upon receiving a cancer diagnosis, patients concerned about the potential impact that treatment may have on their complexions should discuss their options with their physicians. After initiating such discussions, men and women being treated for cancer can take additional steps to maintain their appearance and quality of life both during and after treatment.
* Alter your skin care routine. Upon receiving a cancer diagnosis, patients must make a host of lifestyle adjustments to many things, including to their skin care routines. Intense skin rashes and burns are common side effects of chemotherapy and radiation, and certain side effects are actually an indicator that the treatment is working. While such consequences can affect patients’ self-image, these side effects are entirely manageable.
“What many patients do not realize is that most dermatologic side effects are manageable, allowing people to maintain their quality of life and continue their cancer treatments,” says Lacouture.
Recognizing traditional skin care products’ ineffectiveness at combating the dermatologic side effects of cancer treatment during her own battle with the disease, cancer survivor and entrepreneur Lindy Snider began working with dermatologists, oncologists, nurses, and skin care formulators to address the issue, eventually developing Lindi Skin (www.lindiskin.com), a collection of skin care products designed specifically for individuals undergoing treatment for cancer and related disorders. Combining state-of-the-art technology with innovative natural ingredients, Lindi Skin products include a host of botanical extracts boasting anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties, while providing a soothing and gentle solution even for those patients with especially sensitive skin.
“Tarceva, the medication I take for lung cancer, has played havoc with my skin, which has become unbelievably dry and sensitive,” says Phyllis of Coral Gables, FL. “(Lindi Skin) products are the only ones I can use on my face and body. They actually soothe, whereas all others create a burning sensation.”
* Embrace antioxidants. Often touted as miracle ingredients in a host of foods, antioxidants can be found beyond the dinner table as well. In developing Lindi Skin, Snider and her team designed an exclusive formulation of concentrated botanicals that deliver high levels of beneficial antioxidants to the skin. Known as the LSA Complex(R), this formulation includes Snider’s pioneering use of astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant that is only now beginning to receive widespread recognition for its restorative properties, a decade after Snider began using it in her skin care products. While astaxanthin can relieve the pain and inflammation in the skin that cancer patients often feel, it also can help those suffering from less severe, non-cancer related skin problems, such as sunburn, rosacea, dry skin and UV damage.
Skin damage is an often overlooked side effect of cancer treatment. But cancer patients should know that side effects like skin rashes and burns are manageable and don’t have to negatively impact self-image or quality of life.