How to manage back pain, itchy skin and night sweats
A Cancer patients often experience a long list of physical side effects. But unlike the fatigue, nausea, neuropathy, and other known physical challenges that often accompany cancer fighting, some common conditions don’t get as much public attention. This can make it difficult for patients to anticipate side effects, find the right treatment for them, or even realize that they may be caused by the cancer or its treatment. Take back pain, for example. Is it muscle strain or a sign of the spread of cancer? Or when it comes to itching, is it a symptom of dry skin or the result of the hormonal therapy the patient is taking for her breast cancer? Night sweats are another common complaint – was the food spicy or a side effect of the treatment? Knowing the answers can help patients better manage these problems so that they do not change their quality of life.
“Cancer patients are complete people with a complete history, and sometimes it is difficult to know why certain symptoms are present.” – Kathryn Anderson, ND, FABNO – Chief of Natural Medicine at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA)
Back pain can be a symptom of conditions not related to cancer, such as a ruptured disc. But cancer patients who experience these aches and pains while resting or even after treatment or physical therapy may want to talk to their doctor about whether the pain is related to their cancer.
For some cancer patients, for example, back pain is a sign that the cancer has moved beyond its source, that is, to the bones and spine. This is particularly the case with some breast and prostate cancers, which generally spread to the bones first, but also occur with other cancers, such as colon, rectum, ovary, and lung. In fact, about 25 percent of lung cancer patients experience back pain. Since the disease is generally not suspected until it has progressed to advanced stages, back pain can also be one of the first symptoms that people with undiagnosed lung cancer notice.
To help relieve back pain not related to cancer, Anderson says he typically suggests patients use acupuncture as an alternative to opioids. He also favors options like chiropractic care, general stretching, deep breathing techniques, and natural anti-inflammatories, such as fish oil and curcumin, a chemical produced by plants.
In general, itching is not a symptom of cancer, although it can be a sign of advanced cases of pancreatic and liver cancer, when the cancer has developed enough to cause jaundice, the yellowing of the skin or eyes that occurs when the organs are absent. t work properly. Most of the time, itching is a sign of more benign conditions such as allergies or dryness, although it may be caused by some cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation, or targeted therapy.
To help relieve the itching, patients can try several treatments, which generally include hydrating and moisturizing the skin. Anderson suggests that patients:
- Use skin creams that do not contain alcohol or fragrances.
- Use warm water instead of hot water while showering
- Use a mild, unscented soap.
- Use baking soda instead of deodorant
- Drink plenty of water and get plenty of rest
Menopause and fever are the most common causes of night sweats, but other external factors may play a role, such as exercising or eating spicy foods too close to bedtime. Night sweats can also be caused by cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and hormone therapy, or it can develop as a symptom of the cancer itself.
The most common types of cancers associated with night sweats are lymphoma, leukemia, bone cancer, liver cancer, and mesothelioma. “It’s not clear why some types of cancer cause night sweats, but it can happen because your body is trying to fight the cancer,” Anderson says. “If night sweats are caused by cancer, you probably have other symptoms as well, such as unexplained weight loss and fever without infection. Also, they usually stop once the cancer is treated.”
Some tips for dealing with night sweats include:
- Put a damp cloth or cold compress on the forehead
- Wear loose-fitting clothes made of cotton.
- Take a cold shower before bed
- Practice relaxation and stress-reducing techniques such as yoga and meditation before bed
- Using a fan at night
A number of lifestyle changes can also help relieve back pain, itchy skin, or night sweats. For example, obesity is a risk factor for back pain in both men and women, and Anderson says she notices night sweats more often in breast cancer patients who are overweight. “Changes in diet and movement will help you control your weight, build muscle mass, and improve immune function, and these benefits will spill over into other areas of your life,” she says.