It’s one of those words that stops you in your tracks. When you hear about a loved one getting diagnosed, you feel helpless. You may not be able to fix it, but there are still plenty of ways to help & show love. Here are some tips for creating a “Chemo Survival Kit” that can help make the awfulness of cancer treatment a little bit easier to bear. I’ve made these kits a few times for friends & family & am always researching new products to add.
TIP: I usually use a reusable grocery/tote bag or a small bookbag for chemo kits. Having a specific bag dedicated to chemo day makes it that much easier to grab & go!
After I started listing everything out, I realized that I’m going to have to break this into multiple posts! Here are the links for Part Two: Taming Tummy Troubles & Part Three: Creature Comforts. Today’s post will focus on oral care. You can probably find many of these products at your local pharmacy, but I’ll provide links for everything in the titles just in case.
Chemo side effects can include canker sores & dry mouth. It can also mess with your taste buds (many people have mentioned a weird metallic taste). Here are a few products that can help:
1. Luden’s Moisture Drops
Many people recommend sucking on hard candies to help get rid dry mouth & cover the weird metallic taste you can get from chemo. These strawberry kiwi lozenges from Luden’s are actually meant to help with dry, irritated mouths, and the fruity flavor helps pull double duty!
2. Alcohol Free Mouthwash
Biotene is one of several companies who make an alcohol-free mouthwash specifically formulated for dry mouths. It targets the symptoms of dry mouth to keep things moisturized & the alcohol-free formula means it won’t sting any sore spots.
3. Moisturizing Mouth Spray
Mouth moisturizers, also known as artificial saliva, come in many forms. This spray from Oasis had some great reviews & people said it was very refreshing and better than other sprays they’d tried.
4. Moisturizing Mouth Gel
This moisturizer provides long-lasting relief from dry mouth symptoms, and many of the reviewers said they love using it while they sleep at night.
Reviewers swear by this stuff to soothe & promote healing of canker sores. It’s also one of the few all-natural products I’ve found in this arena — it’s made from the byproducts of honeybees!
6. Dry Mouth Toothpaste
Another great product for dry, sensitive mouths. This toothpaste & the mouthwash from Biotene were two products that my Pop-Pop swore by while he was on chemo.
7. Canker Sore Gel
Zilactin B’s long lasting mouth sore gel had some rave reviews compared to other brands. It actually creates a protective bandage so that you can eat without pain & let the wound stay protected while it heals. Pretty sweet!
8. Moisturizing Strips
If you don’t want to use a gel or spray, or if you want something a little bit more portable, you can try these dry mouth moisturizing strips. They’re kind of like Listerine strips, except less intense & more moisturizing, and you can use them during the day or while you sleep. If you’re a gum chewer, here’s another option for dry mouth relief.
A lot of these products are similar, but everyone has different needs and preferences, so I figured I’d share ‘em all so you can choose what works best for you or a loved one. Stay tuned for more tips & tricks to help combat other chemo side effects! Oh, and even though I’ve done quite a bit of research & talked with the nurses & doctors of my own friends and family, I would definitely recommend consulting your loved one’s doctor about these products before you throw away your receipts, since certain chemo cocktails may have different restrictions than others.
This is wonderful. I remember when you brought these to the cancer ward, Casey. Everyone was in awe of your organized thoughfulness!
What a wonderful, thoughtful idea Casey!
Thank you, Erin!
Where is the best place to find some of these chemo care items for dry mouth and nausea? My mom is starting chemo in a couple of weeks
Hey Jessica, I have the links for everything listed (should be the title for each item) & you can find them on Amazon. You can also find a lot of stuff at pharmacies & health food stores. Best of luck to your mom! If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask (I’m not an expert but I’ll do my best to help!)
You are the kind and caring person I can tell. And trying to help someone going through this awful time. I had a love one pass away from cancer and it’s awful to see them suffer with the the side effects. We have started a company that is offering affordable gift packs to Cancer patients but having trouble getting our name out we are based in Australia and wondering if you could do any back linking for us. Regards Heidi.