Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Chemo and your nose

Just a heads up to those of you about to be or in the midst of dealing with chemo, it can wreak havoc on your sense of smell. I had the misfortune of receiving treatment during the H1N1 outbreak last fall. On the one hand, I was happy to get scooted to the front of the line for vaccination because of my weakened immune system. On the other hand,  I was ill-prepared to deal with the smell of most hand sanitizers. It was horrific. The slightest bit of artificial perfume made me want to vomit and then hurt people. One day I walked from room to room pitching the little plastic pump bottles in the garbage, "Get it out of the house...GET IT OUT OF THE HOUSE!!!!!!"  only to later fish them out so we could donate them to a less smelling-impaired household.

So, fair warning, please do not use scented lotions, soaps, body sprays, antiperspirants, dishwashing liquid, detergent or the like. You will thank me.

And since I just mentioned antiperspirant, I thought I'd include a link to the US National Cancer Institute's fact sheet responding to questions about the possible link between use of antiperspirants or deodorants and breast cancer. In short, there is no conclusive evidence of a link and studies have provided conflicting results. Yippee. If you are concerned, speak with your health care providers and consider opting for natural alternatives.

As an aside, I never ever had much of an issue with underarm odor and so was not a daily user of these products. It is very unlikely, in my opinion, that they had any impact on my tumour growth. For my thoughts on that, stayed tuned for my future posting where I take on my probable breast cancer risk factors (moderate alchohol consumption, early menstruation and delaying of baby-making till after 30, I'm looking at you!).

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