This month, I asked our wonderful blogger community what they thought of when they heard the words “side effects” – and I think Heather put it best. “UGH”.

It seems everybody’s had at least one or two run-ins with side effects during their cancer treatment. But for every nausea nightmare or unexpected rash, our bloggers have come up with inventive, practical, and downright genius tips for getting through them. Read on to find out more!

To Cap or Not to Cap, That is the Question

The thought of losing your hair during chemo can be terrifying – especially for women. While it seems like an inevitable side effect of chemotherapy, there is a treatment that has proven to help prevent hair loss – cold caps (also know as cooling caps). It’s a treatment that Rachael, of Big C, Little Me blog opted for.

When she started researching about cold caps, she wished that all the information she needed was in one useful place. So having gone through the treatment herself, and only losing around 20% of her hair, that’s exactly what she’s decided to do for others considering it. From pain management and finding the right fit to hair products to use and stay away from, Rachael offers a unique insight into the cold cap treatment.

Though it’s not for everyone (and sometimes not available for all patients), Rachael believes that “keeping my hair has really helped me maintain a sense of normality and let me feel like myself and not someone who’s sick.” Read Rachael’s super-detailed guide here.

Can I Order a Drink to Go With My Side (effects)?

Next up is Khevin Barnes, a male breast cancer survivor, speaker, writer, laughter yoga teacher and magician. Unfortunately for Khevin, he wasn’t able to ‘magic away’ the side effects from his treatment, and went through some really tough times. In his latest blog, Khevin questions the term ‘side effects’ – arguing that for cancer patients, these “negative consequences” are far more impactful on everyday life than people expect. We think he has a very good point, and would definitely recommend everybody check out his website for more thoughtful pieces on male breast cancer and survivorship.

Read his blog here.

Side Effects Don’t Just Disappear

We often talk about side effects of cancer treatment while you’re going through it, but this month, Heather reminds us that side effects can continue long after treatment too. Including hearing loss and ringing in the ears – a side effect I actually hadn’t heard of before!

In her latest blog post, Tips for Navigating Cancer’s Side Effects, the lovely Heather explains the benefits of being prepared for what’s to come and offers some great tips too.

Nightmare Nail Side Effects – Not For The Squeamish!

One side effect that doesn’t get a lot of discussion is what happens to your fingernails and toenails during cancer treatment. You might expect to go through hair loss and nausea, but when your nails change colour or start to crack, it can very quickly get uncomfortable and painful.
So we looked into why this happens, and how you can prevent it. (And apologies in advance, but I included pictures – not for the faint-hearted!) Read our article on nails here.


Shit’s Starting to Get Real

Our final piece this month came from the wonderful Laura in New Zealand, who was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer at the age of 26. Her update on the side effects of her new medication is full of her trademark humour and (in her own words) ‘Terminal Optimism’, whilst also sharing her worries honestly and openly in the hopes of helping others in a similar situation.

Chatting to Laura over email about her hilarious name for her tumour (‘I’ve named him Terry, so he’s easier discussed when out with ‘polite company’), it was so clear that even through side effects and recurrence of her cancer, she would never lose her wicked sense of humour.

Laura passed away on the morning of February 22nd, peacefully and on her terms. Her family shared an update on her blog, with details of a memorial service that sounds as bright and sunny as Laura’s writing. “As our girl was full of colour and laughter, please dress in a colourful dress or suit to remember her.” I’ll certainly be thinking of Laura the next time I put on a bright yellow jumper, and the next time I eat a Terry’s Chocolate Orange, too.

 That’s all for this month’s roundup – thanks again to everyone who submitted their writing. Your insight is priceless, and hopefully will help other people going through a similar journey.
Next month we’ll be rounding up your thoughts on the topic of
“The New Normal”. 
Trying to live your ‘normal’ life around cancer can be a real struggle, no matter what stage of treatment you’re at. What helped you to keep calm and carry on? What does your new normal look like? Submit your writing for me to include in the next roundup on