The month of March is awareness month for five cancers across the UK and the US; Ovarian, Prostate, Colorectal and Kidney Cancer and Multiple Myeloma. Although each cancer varies in its treatments and side effects, when diagnosed with one of these five cancers, amongst many others, you may find yourself in the hospital for an extended period.
Surgery, chemo, and radiotherapy can be performed in an outpatient setting or an inpatient setting. The difference between outpatients and inpatients is, inpatients stay in hospital wards or units overnight while outpatients can go home once treatment is complete. Being an inpatient does not mean you are more unwell than if you were treated as an outpatient, but you may require closer observation by nursing and medical staff. There are a variety of factors that can influence whether you will be treated as an inpatient or outpatient, but generally, the following treatments may require you to stay in the hospital.
*Please note, not all treatment options are listed below, merely ones that may require longer hospital stays.
Surgery for ovarian cancer:
The type of surgery will depend on the stage of diagnosis, but many women with ovarian cancer will require some degree of surgery during their diagnosis. Surgery may include removal of your ovaries, fallopian tubes or womb.
Surgery for prostate cancer:
Similar to ovarian cancer, those diagnosed with prostate cancer may be required to undergo surgery at some point of their diagnosis. It may be necessary for patients to have their prostate completely removed. Additionally, sometimes tumours can press onto your urethra (the tube which urine passes through), making it difficult to urinate. If this occurs, you may need surgery to relieve the pressure on your urethra, so it is easier for you to pass urine. This type of surgery is known as a transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP).
Radiotherapy for prostate cancer:
Patients with early stage prostate cancer may be given the treatment option of brachytherapy. Brachytherapy or internal beam radiotherapy is a curative treatment option where high dose radiotherapy is instilled in the prostate. You may be required to stay overnight for closer observation post treatment.
Surgery for colorectal cancer:
Surgical resection of the primary tumour and surrounding lymph nodes is the standard treatment for localised colorectal cancer. If the cancer has spread to other areas of the body, additional treatment may be required, such as chemotherapy or further surgery.
Chemotherapy for colorectal cancer:
There are a few chemo regimens for colorectal cancer that may require patients to stay over for treatment, as the chemo needs to be administered over a couple of days. However, depending on where you live and community nursing support you have, this may not be the case. Many more people can go home with a chemotherapy pump attached to them and have district nurses disconnect the chemo when it has finished.
Kidney (Renal Cell) cancer
Surgery for kidney cancer:
Surgery for kidney cancer can include removing the section of the kidney that contains the tumour (partial nephrectomy), removing the entire kidney (simple nephrectomy) or removing the kidney, lymph nodes and adrenal gland (radical nephrectomy). People undergoing any type of nephrectomy need to be monitored closely after surgery to ensure their other kidney is working properly.
High Dose Chemotherapy for Multiple Myeloma:
Multiple Myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells. Plasma cells play a major role in a person’s immune system. B Lymphocytes, a type of white cell, mature into plasma cells in response to an infection. To kill the cancerous plasma cells, you may need high-dose chemotherapy, especially if you are to have a stem cell transplant. High dose chemo puts a person at risk of infection and bleeding, so it is important that stay in the hospital to during this time.
Stem Cell Transplant for Multiple Myeloma:
A stem cell transplant is a way of giving a person with a blood cancer new stem cells with the aim of them not turning into cancer cells. These stem cells then turn into the white blood cells and plasma cells. Stem cell transplants require a person’s immunity to be very low, increasing their risk of having an infection. People having stem cell transplants can become unwell quickly, so it important they stay in the hospital so that they can have the prompt treatment should this occur.
Hospital stays can be tiring and annoying. Being observed overnight, pain, and changes in your body can make it difficult to rest.
Live Better With has curated the following ten products to help improve your stay in the hospital.
One of our most favourite products, the iBeani allows you to use your tablet or Kindle comfortably in your bed. Coming in a range of prints, they are the perfect gift to treat yourself before heading into hospital.
Nighttime in hospitals can be distracting. Nurses may need to come in and record your observations, check your wound dressings or administer medication. And if you share a room, your neighbour may need these things throughout the night. Having a soft silk sleep mask to keep light coming into your eyes, could be the difference in being awake and asleep.
In addition to being bright, hospitals can be noisy, even at nighttime. The headband headphones are a comfortable alternative to wearing headphones, so you’re able to listen to your favourite music, audio books or even play soothing white noise to help you relax and remove the excess sounds out.
There can be a lot of downtime in hospitals. The Pocket Posh One-Minute Puzzles are not only a great way to pass the time, but also excellent at keeping your brain stimulated and to help reduce the symptoms of chemo brain.
Surgery, chemo or radiotherapy may result in having tubes or drains. It can be a pain getting dressed in everyday clothes with drains and drips, and hospital gowns can expose more than you want to expose. The Able Label Sophie Jersey Dress has been designed for comfort while recovering from surgery.
Washing and conditioning your hair can be difficult in the hospital. Your mobility may be affected due to surgery, or you simply may not have enough energy to wash and dry your hair. But having clean hair can help you feel refreshed and a bit more energised. The Nilaqua Shower Cap are ideal when in the hospital as they don’t require any water or rinsing. You just place them on your head, like a hotel shower cap, massage and brush through.
PICC lines are very common in the hospital setting. They are used to instil medication and take blood without extra needles. The problem of PICC lines is they are not waterproof, making showering with them tough. The Limbo is a plastic waterproof cover that can allow you to shower with a degree of normality while having a PICC line.
Scars can be a distressing or empowering reminder of your experience with cancer. If however, you wish to lessen the look of your scar, Kelo-Cote Scar Gel can help. Kelo-cote is a patented topical silicone gel for the management and prevention of scars. It helps soften, flatten and smooth raised scars while maintaining the moisture balance and elasticity of the adjacent skin.
Lying in a hospital bed can make you feel a bit dull at times. This spritz is ideal for a quick fix when wanting to feel fresh and energised without having to get out of bed. The spritz can also benefit those who experience hot flushes due to treatment, and the formula is very cooling on the skin.
Lying in bed can cause sore and reddened areas. And if you don’t move about, these areas can develop into pressure ulcers. The V-shape support pillow allows you to readjust in bed and most importantly be comfortable while you have limited mobility.
Surgery, radiotherapy and chemo may cause you to be bed bound. A shower can help you feel refreshed and improve fatigue and mood, but it can be difficult with reduced mobility. The Nilaqua Patient Hygiene Packs are cleansing wipes that allow you to be clean without the need of water.