What to wear to Chemotherapy

by Team Onco
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Wondering what sort of clothes will help you stay comfortable during your chemotherapy sessions? We give you the best options here. 

Chemotherapy is usually done in a few cycles spanning over a few months. Depending on how the drug is administered to you (IV or port), you may need to make a few adjustments in your clothes. Therefore, getting together a small but effective wardrobe for your chemotherapy sessions may be a good idea for you.

Let’s start with a few things to consider when buying clothes during this period:

  • Sizing

Most people either lose or gain weight during chemotherapy. So avoid buying very tight clothes. 

Look for free size clothing that does not stick to your body but also makes you feel good. Materials like cotton and rayon help you feel more comfortable.

Trousers and bottom wear with drawstrings can be used even if you drop down a couple of sizes. 

trousers to help with cancer weightless

Drawstrings can help in case of weight loss

  • Warm clothes

Hospitals tend to be colder and chemotherapy can increase your sensitivity to cold temperature. 

Wool may not feel comfortable if it is in direct contact with your skin.  So instead of opting for wooly jumpers, you can consider layering up. 

Look for t-shirts or vests that can be worn inside your regular clothes to provide extra warmth. 

Socks, fingerless gloves, mufflers and caps can help you cover up parts of your body like your head, neck and palms that are generally not covered by clothes. 

fingerless gloves to keep warm

Fingerless gloves

If you still feel cold, try out leg warmers or ponchos that can be worn along with your regular clothes. 

keeping warm during chemotherapy

  • Access point for the catheters 

Both IV lines and ports are usually connected to your chest. This would mean that wearing anything with a high neck, or anything fitted around the chest and armpits is a bad idea. 

Go for wider necks in elastic fabrics so that your top or tshirt can be easily pulled down to access your chest area. 

Women can avoid wearing bras and instead opt for built-in bras in their tops, so that there is no need to button, or unbutton during this process. 

chest access for catheter

Front open shirts can also be very useful for this. 

It is recommended that you buy cheaper clothes for this period of time. You can consider ripping up the side seams or making keyholes in your chest area for your port or drain pipes. 

  • Shawls or blankets for comfort

If you feel uncomfortable about having a part of your chest exposed during the process, you can go for a shawl or blanket to keep you warm and comfortable during chemotherapy.

  • Dressing without help

If you have been through a surgery recently, or due to fatigue from chemotherapy, you may find that it’s hard to move your hands high up for a temporary period of time. 

So fixing zips, buttons or hooks along your back may not be easy. Similarly wearing clothes without a wide opening may also be uncomfortable. 

When buying clothes during this period of time, check if it is something you can wear and take off without assistance. 

  • Caps and hats

Caps and hats keep you warm. If you have started losing hair and want to keep your head area covered, there are plenty of options to choose from. 

clothes for cancer hair loss

Head ties, scarfs, bandanas, beanie hats and many similar headwear can keep you looking glamorous at this time. 

Remember to pick something that is soft on your scalp and something that can be worn and removed by yourself. 

There are also a range of wigs of varying costs to select from. You can order any of these through ecommerce sites in your area. 

  • Sun Protection

Your skin might be more sensitive during this time. So avoid exposing it to extreme temperatures and direct sunlight. 

what to were during chemotherapy

A wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, or scarves can protect you from harsh sunlight. Additionally, remember to apply sunscreen and carry along a gentle moisturiser that you can reapply as required. 

  • Face masks

It is advised that you wear face masks during this time to avoid unnecessary exposure to any viruses. Owing to a weakened immune system, you are more likely to catch infections during cancer treatment. 

mask for cancer patients

It is recommended that you use a surgical N95 mask when going into a public place like your hospital. If you do not have access to these, consider double masking with two or more layers of breathable fabrics for more protection. 

Caring for clothes

All clothes should be washed after every use. Avoid using detergents with harsh chemicals or strong smells when washing clothes. 

A disinfectant can also help sanitise the clothes. Sun drying after washing is also helpful. 

You can read more about what to wear after breast cancer surgery here.

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