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Symptom Management:

Symptom Management

Side Effects of Treatment
Side Effects of Chemotherapy
Appetite Loss
Bladder Disturbances
Incontinence - Urinary
Dryness of the Mouth
Fluid and Electrolyte Imbalances
Flu-like Syndrome
Hair Loss
Menopausal Symptoms
Nausea & Vomiting
Neurological Disturbances
Spinal Cord Compression
Peritoneal Effusions
Shortness of Breath
Skin Conditions
Sleep Problems (Insomnia/Oversleeping)
Sore Mouth
Bone Metastases
Sexuality Issues
Sexual Dysfunction
Pruritus (Itching)

Symptom and Description Pruritus (itching) can occur because of your cancer and the treatment for cancer. The itching can be in one area or all over your body. Pruritus can become so severe and annoying that it causes loss of sleep and changes your daily lifestyle. Scratching and damage of the skin can lead to an infection. Decreasing the itch sensation and keeping your skin healthy is most important.

Learning Needs You need to be aware that pruritus may occur and learn how to prevent it and how to reduce its effects.

Prevention Pruritus may not be prevented. However, there are many things you can do to prevent dry skin and irritation:

  • Drink glasses of fluid each day
  • Keep skin moist, using moisturizing agents and Aveeno bath treatment
  • Keep a humid environment
  • Report changes in pruritus to physician/nurse
  • Keep finger nails cut short and wear soft mittens on hands and socks on feet, especially at night
  • Avoid hot baths and heat

Management There are things you can do to help control the urge to scratch:

  • Apply cool compresses or pressure, or gently rub area
  • Apply lotions, creams, or emollients as directed
  • Use medications as directed by your physician
  • Use distractions and relaxation techniques to decrease pruritus
  • Take lukewarm baths, using Aveeno oatmeal treatment
  • Keep a diary of what helps your pruritus and what doesn’t help
  • Wear cotton clothes to reduce sweating

Follow-up If you develop pruritus or your pruritus gets worse, call your physician or nurse. Be prepared to tell them the following information:

  • Location of itching and how long it lasts
  • Is it getting worse?
  • Treatment you are using
  • Any problems with daily activities, sleep, or rest
Empower yourself with information.  Knowledge is power.
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