Health tips for patients with sarcoma or other musculoskeletal tumours
What do you need to bear in mind if you have sarcoma or other musculoskeletal tumours or you are caring for someone who does?
It is important to follow a series of advice related to lifestyle and treatment. The most important advice is:
- Diet and hydration: follow a healthy and balanced diet, ensuring it includes the necessary foods, proteins and calories.
- Control over passing urine and faeces: there is a tendency to constipation caused by pain medication (morphine or derivatives), which is why a diet rich in fibre is recommended.
- Unhealthy habits: avoid habits such as smoking, drinking or taking other toxins.
- Hydration and skin awareness: the skin normally becomes very delicate and deteriorates due to the effects of aggressive treatment.
- Control of post-surgical wounds: wash using less aggressive soaps and keep your skin well hydrated.
- Side effects (localised and systemic) of medication: watch for and avoid effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, skin peeling, itchy skin, etc.).
- Education and keeping extremities mobile: sometimes there are cases of amputation and phantom limb syndrome.
- Maximum empowerment of the patient’s independence in the new situation and provide the necessary tools: crutches, walkers, wheelchairs, etc.
- Pain management: medication, relaxation techniques, breathing control, mobility techniques and energy saving.
- Education in injury and fall prevention: wearing appropriate footwear, adapting the home (removing barriers), walking safely, wearing comfortable clothing, etc.
- Infection control: keep an eye on temperature and symptoms. It is worth remembering that this is an immunosuppressant condition.
- Insistence on the importance of oral hygiene.
- Information and assessment of correctly taking medication.
- Vigilance and control of port-a-cath, if the patient has one.
- Sleeping at night and resting during the day to enable proper rest at night time.
- More direct professional support for the patient, their family or carer: necessary, adequate and understandable information should be provided about the illness and treatment. Support must be provided in paper format and other types of professionals can also give their support.
- Respect the patient’s independence and the decisions they make.
- Information about patient’s wishes.