Here are a few things cancer survivors should watch out for during colder weather:

  1. Be good to your eyes – Some types of chemotherapy can make your eyes uncomfortably dry: dry winter weather can do the same thing.  Ask your oncologist about lubricating eye drops, and give your eyes extra protection when you’re outside in a cold wind by wrapping a scarf around your face or wearing eye protection.
  2. Lymphedema – Lymphedema is a potentially dangerous swelling of the arms due to disruption of the lymph node system.  It’s often brought on by repetitive weight-bearing motions like shoveling snow.  Avoid shoveling if you can.  If you have to do it in shorts bursts, make sure it is never long enough for your arm to feel fatigued.
  3. Protect your head – If you’ve lost your hair due to treatment, don’t venture outside for even the shortest trip without a scarf and warm hat.  Much of your body heat is lost through the head.  Because you have absolutely no “insulation” on your head right now—cover up.
  4. Keep your hands and feet warm – Some women find themselves developing neuropathy – numbness of the hands and feet –  as a result of chemotherapy.  Cold temperatures can exacerbate this numbness, and encourage stumbles and falls.  Wear warm gloves and boots.

Remember to bundle up, keep warm and enjoy the holidays.

Article by Bev Ramsey, CFM / Fitter of Mastectomy & Compression at Byrd-Watson Downtown