The unique benefits of bamboo clothing and bamboo bedding could help you to feel more comfortable when you’re having cancer treatment, both at night and in the day. Here’s why…
Skin is the body’s largest single organ so it’s not surprising that, when you are being treated for cancer, your skin starts to react – and to change. It can become sore, dry, itchy or sensitive, or you may sweat more, particularly at night. But there is a solution. The unique benefits of bamboo clothing and bedding could help you to feel more comfortable, not just during the day but around the clock. Bamboo can help you to sleep better, and may even reduce your risk of infection after surgery. By lessening the severity of some of the symptoms associated with cancer treatment, bamboo can make a significant difference to your recovery and sense of well-being.
Bamboo clothing and bedding is now widely available and, increasingly, a popular choice for cancer patients. For example, many UK hospitals now advise breast cancer patients to wear bamboo bras after surgery.
What are the benefits of bamboo clothing and bedding?
Bamboo clothing, such as hats, pyjamas, bras and socks, has been gaining popularity since it came onto the market in 2000. But its special qualities make it the ideal choice for anyone who is living with cancer or going through cancer treatment. Bamboo clothing is:
- extra soft
- moisture absorbing
- insulating and breathable
- UV protectant
- strong and durable
- easy to wash and quick drying
Bamboo bedding – sheets, pillowcases and duvet covers – works in the same way too.
How does the softness of bamboo help during cancer treatment?
Cancer treatment including radiotherapy, chemotherapy, surgery and drug regimes, such as hormone therapy, can all affect your skin – and the way it looks and feels. It can become hot, dry, sensitive or itchy, so it makes sense to wear something next to your skin that is soft and soothing.
It’s often said that bamboo is to cotton what cashmere is to wool – it feels much softer and more luxurious to the touch. And, although it is a gentle fabric that sits lightly on your skin, it is strong and durable too.
How does bamboo clothing and bedding keep you dry?
Some types of cancer and cancer treatment drugs can make you sweat more. Bamboo fabric is moisture wicking – it draws moisture from your skin, which evaporates and keeps you dry.
How does bamboo keep your body temperature stable?
Having cancer and going through various types of cancer treatment can affect your body temperature; it’s not unusual to feel feverish or you might feel very chilly, as breast cancer patients often do. Bamboo is a breathable fabric and thermo-regulating, which means that it helps you to stay cool in hot weather and keep warm when it turns cold.
How does anti-bacterial bamboo help you during and after cancer treatment?
Developing an infection after you have had surgery can prolong the time it takes you to recover, so it’s important to do what you can to reduce the risk of infection. Bamboo contains an antimicrobial agent called bamboo kun that gives it unique antibacterial qualities. It’s antifungal and odour resistant too and, as all these properties are long lasting, your bamboo clothing and bedding will cope with frequent washing.
How can wearing bamboo protect you from the sun?
Cancer treatment such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy can weaken your immune system. Exposure to strong sunlight can weaken it even further and it’s essential to protect your skin from the damage that sunlight can do. Wearing bamboo helps by cutting out 98% of the sun’s harmful UV rays.
What types of bamboo clothing could help you?
Bamboo is available across a range of clothing – hats and headwear, bras, socks and pyjamas. What to choose will depend on the type of cancer and cancer treatment you have and the symptoms you are experiencing.
How can bamboo headwear help you during chemotherapy?
Hair loss is one of the commonest side effects of chemotherapy – and can be distressing. Some people prefer to wear a wig during and after chemotherapy but wigs are not the answer for everyone, and they can make the scalp feel hot and itchy. But a bamboo wig liner, worn next to your scalp, can ease that problem, and you can wear a wig in comfort throughout the day and evening.
If you don’t want to wear a wig but do want to keep your head covered, a bamboo turban, hat or scarf offers soft, comfortable protection. They come in a range of styles, patterns and colours, so there’s no problem in finding something that will suit you. They are quick and easy to wash too.
How can wearing a bamboo bra help when you have breast cancer?
Every year more than 23,000 women in the UK, who are diagnosed with breast cancer currently have some form of surgery – a mastectomy or a wide-angle excision to remove a tumour, and possibly breast reconstruction. One in 10 of those women go on to develop an infection in their wound after surgery. Chemotherapy can also increase the risk of infection as it weakens the immune system.
The use of bamboo bras to promote healing and aid recovery for breast cancer patients was pioneered in Ireland – with excellent results. You can wear a bamboo bra immediately after surgery and, because they have fewer seams than cotton bras, bamboo bras are less likely to irritate scar tissue. The bamboo fabric used for bras is 59% more absorbent than cotton and 19% more moisture wicking.
If you are having breast reconstruction, a bamboo bra is ideal; it’s vital that your bra supports your breast tissue, while giving you the right amount of compression. If you have to have drains fitted for a few days, these need to stay in place, with as little discomfort as possible, so opting for a bamboo bra is a wise choice. No wonder so many UK hospitals now advise breast cancer patients to wear bamboo bras after surgery – to help them recover more safely, more comfortably and more quickly.
As well as being more comfortable to wear, there is some evidence that bamboo bras may be effective in reducing your risk of infection after surgery. The fabric they’re made of is bacteriostatic – it prevents the growth of the type of bacteria most often found at the site of surgical infections. It is 97% resistant to the growth of gram negative bacteria (Pseudomonas fluorescens) and of gram positive bacteria (Staphylococcus epidermis) by 93%. Cotton, by comparison, offers no resistance to bacteria at all.
How can wearing bamboo socks help?
If cancer treatment is making your feet feel hot and itchy, try wearing bamboo socks – they’re so comfortable and feel like silk against your skin. They’re also easy to slip on and off for medical appointments or visits to the chiropodist or podiatrist.
How can bamboo pyjamas and bedding help you sleep?
Cancer treatment is tiring so as well as any side effects you may have, you’re likely to spend more time resting and in bed than you would normally. Being comfortable in bed is one of the main factors in getting a good night’s sleep – and sound sleep is an essential part of recovery. If your cancer treatment symptoms are getting in the way of that, you won’t wake rest and refreshed.
We know that wearing bamboo next to the skin can alleviate symptoms like dryness, sensitivity and itching, which are often worse at night, so bamboo pyjamas, pillowcases, sheets and duvet covers are an excellent bedtime choice. Hot flushes and night sweats are also common problems; for example, if you are having certain types of hormone treatment for breast cancer. Breathable and moisture-wicking bamboo nightwear and bedding can help to regulate your body temperature, easing you through hot flushes and night sweats.
Is bamboo clothing and bedding easy to look after?
Bamboo is such a practical fabric and easy to care for: it washes quickly, at low temperatures, and dries just as quickly. It’s lightweight too, which certainly takes some of the strain out of bed making. And anything that makes life a little easier when you are having cancer treatment is always going to be very welcome.