cpr select logo

Tips for Performing First Aid for Cancer Patients

first aid

By

June 12, 2019

Table of Contents

Cancer is a life-threatening condition that disrupts the patient’s physical and mental wellbeing. Side effects from cancer treatment, painful procedures, financial burden, and difficult decision-making also affect the patient. Types of cancer cells and stages of cancer are the most critical factors in determining the survival rate. Here are the tips for performing first aid for cancer patients.

First aid training is essential for cancer patients or anyone who knows someone who does. Knowledge in First Aid can be valuable in keeping the condition from worsening, and it can even save a life. If you are giving medical care for a cancer patient, you should be familiar with the basics of First Aid Training for Cancer. Here is an outline of what you need to know.

Emotional First Aid for Cancer Patients

When we think of First Aid, we usually think of how it relates to physical wellbeing. But it can connect to mental wellbeing as well.

Cancer patients often suffer from depression and anxiety. Therefore, it is essential to familiarize yourself with relaxation techniques to deal with these emotions. Remember, anxiety and depression can increase feelings of pain, so it is best to keep patients as calm as possible.

Anxiety can also lead to chest pains and hyperventilation. Therefore, it is crucial to becoming familiar with the mechanisms, morbidity, and management of chest pain in a panic disorder and breathing techniques used in hyperventilation.

Depression is also common in cancer patients and can cause some to become suicidal. Therefore, it is good to become familiar with the signs and symptoms that can lead to suicide and open a dialogue to prevent it from occurring.

Physical First Aid for Cancer Patients

Physical symptoms can arise due to cancer itself and the treatment used for cancer like chemotherapy. A common side effect of chemotherapy is a low white blood cell count that can put patients at risk for infection. Those caring for a cancer patient must be familiar with methods to keep infection under control, including monitoring temperature and maintaining sanitary facilities.

Cancer patients are also at high risk for bleeding and bruising due to their low platelet count. Caregivers should be aware of First Aid for cancer necessary to prevent control bleeding and bruising. Excessive blood loss can lead to hypovolemic shock and other severe conditions.

Dehydration is also a common cancer symptom. Primary caregivers should be familiar with first aid methods for cancer that can prevent and control dehydration and treat symptoms like diarrhea if they occur.

Chemotherapy, a known cancer treatment, is a toxin that can damage cancer cells, but it can also damage healthy cells in the body, including those surrounding the heart.

First Aid for Cancer Patients

Administering CPR

Chemotherapy treatment can result in cardiac problems and conditions like arrhythmia or abnormal heart rhythm, chest pain, and cardiomyopathy. The cancer patient may need Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation paired up with an AED or Automatic External Defibrillator in these conditions. Administering CPR and using AED can restore the normal heart rhythm of the cancer patient. However, caregivers should be aware of the patient’s wishes regarding whether or not to resuscitate.

If you are caring for patients with cancer or part of the health care team, you must take First Aid Classes and obtain a First Aid Certification to ensure you are familiar with all aspects of First Aid Training for Cancer. This way, you will be able to provide care no matter what circumstances may arise.

Preventing infection

Cancer and the treatment options can make the immune system of the patient weak, increasing the risk of infection. Common symptoms of infection include sore throat, abdominal pain, fever, and chills. Since cancer patients also have low white blood cells, it reduces the chances of fighting the disease. When an infection happens, it’s essential to check the patient’s temperature using a thermometer. Give them plenty of fluids and make sure to take medication on time. If symptoms worsen, take the patient to the nearest ER or call the cancer care team.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the causes of cancer?

There are several factors that can cause cancer, and some of them can be prevented. The most common risk factors for cancer include alcohol abuse or excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, physical inactivity, obesity or excess body weight, and poor nutrition.

How long does chemotherapy treatment last?

It widely depends on the type and stage of cancer, the goal of treatment, and other factors like chemotherapy drugs. These factors affect how a cancer patient responds to the treatment. Chemotherapy is often given in cycles with breaks between treatments to provide the body with a chance to rest and heal.

How common is lung cancer?

Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers in the country, but it is the deadliest because it causes the highest number of deaths of all cancers in the United States. 

What are the symptoms of shortness of breath in a cancer patient?

 Chest pain, thick, yellow, green, or bloody sputum, pale and clammy skin, has a temperature not related to a cold or the flu, flared nostrils during breathing, confused, has trouble speaking, dizziness or weakness, swelling. Call the cancer care team if a cancer patient experiences these symptoms. 

 Summary

 To sum up, here are some key takeaways:

  • Cancer patients can experience emotional and physical symptoms that require First Aid.
  • Emotional symptoms can include depression and anxiety and can result in physical symptoms.
  • Physical symptoms of cancer can include dehydration, infection, bleeding, bruising, and heart conditions.
  • Caregivers should take First Aid Classes and get a First Aid Certification to prove they are skilled in First Aid Training for Cancer.

Good luck becoming certified in this important field of care!