Over 4,000 Americans receive a cancer diagnosis every day, according to the American Cancer Society. Survivor Britta Aragon’s When Cancer Hits (Cinco Vidas Press) is an indispensable guide for the newly diagnosed, full of hard-to-access info on combatting side effects of drugs and treatments on skin, hair and nails; potentially harmful ingredients to avoid in skin care, household products and food; and tips on how to manage debilitating stress and lighten your toxic load.
Aragon was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma at age 16. While caring for her father when he got cancer, eight years later, she learned that small things make a big difference. Serving him a cup of ginger tea 30 minutes before a meal eased nausea. Arnica gel helped with bruising. Watching a funny movie that made him laugh helped him feel a whole lot better. But finding skin care that didn’t irritate his highly sensitized skin was a challenge, and led to the creation of her new skin care line, CV Skinlabs. “I was disheartened by the lack of effective and 100 percent clean products while caring for my father’s compromised skin,” says Aragon. “Even those that said they were ‘natural’ still were chemically laden.”
Formulated with a team of doctors and organic chemists, the products contain bio-compatible natural and/or organic ingredients like aloe, chamomile, cucumber, calendula, sea buckthorn, and arnica. The products also contain an anti-inflammatory blend of turmeric, bisabolol and reishi mushroom to soothe and repair severely dry, sensitive, irritated and inflamed skin.
Aragon’s hard-won knowledge and personal experiences also led to the writing of her book, and the launch of Cinco Vidas, a web resource on the side effects of cancer and cancer treatment. “My hope is to bring awareness to people to make the changes that will help them achieve some peace of mind towards recovery,” she says. cincovidas.com
What can you do if a friend or family member gets this scary diagnosis?
• Be there. Talk to her. Help her stay positive with a daily affirmation—“I will take care of myself,” “I will get well”— spoken out loud.
• Take her for a facial, and here’s why: to stimulate circulation, nourish compromised skin, and relax tense muscles. Many spas offer discounted treatments to cancer patients. Book with an “oncologic aesthetician”—a spa professional who specializes in cancer—at an organic spa. (For a resource list go to cincovidas.com/oncology-esthetician-directory/)
• Buy her a scarf or hat, but make sure the scarf is made of soft, breathable fabric like organic cotton or silk, or the hat is lined with cozy fleece or angora that won’t irritate sensitive skin.