We caught up with Beatson Cancer Charity Therapist and Podiatrist Chris Lynas who gives some tips and advice on how to look after your nails and feet while going through cancer treatment.
Chemotherapy treatment can affect a patient’s nails, causing discolouration and making them more brittle and prone to breakage. Onycholysis (the loosening or separation of a finger or toenail from the nail bed), onychocryptosis (ingrowing toenail) and paronychia (skin infection around a finger or toenail) are the most common conditions that we treat.
Chemotherapy can also induce peripheral neuropathy, nerve damage in the hands and feet which can lower the patients' immune system leaving them more at risk of infection. By offering our podiatry service we can assist with both direct treatment but also by providing advice on personal nail care when it is appropriate for the patient to self-manage or with assistance from a family member.
The side effects of chemotherapy can continue for some time after the treatment plan is completed so it’s really important that patients can still access podiatry services. At the Vale Centre for Health & Care, Beatson Cancer Charity offer six free appointments up to seven years after diagnosis, which really supports people to recover from cancer treatment.
We work very closely with the clinical team at The Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre who identify patients that will benefit from podiatry and signpost the patients to the Wellbeing Centre and our satellite locations. Please call 0141 301 7667 for more information.
We work very closely with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and have a reciprocal referral arrangement. If a patient has an ongoing, pathological problem and we are unable to follow up treatment due to their hospital discharge or being transferred to another facility, we can signpost them to the local NHS Podiatry service. In turn, the NHS often refer patients who could benefit from our service to us. We have a very good rapport between the staff at The Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre and all NHS staff in the satellite locations who promote our podiatry, complementary therapy and wig fitting services to patients.
At the Vale Centre for Health and Care, we also offer the patient’s main carer Podiatry and complementary treatments. Beatson Cancer Charity recognises that it is not only the patient who can be affected but their loved ones and it is as equally important that they can also benefit from our care.
We have the privilege of being able to spend time with patients. In a busy ward or clinic patients often don’t want to trouble the nurse. It is good to know that being part of this team can make patients’ hospital stays that bit more bearable.
Often people are so busy thinking about their cancer treatment, that they forget about the condition of their feet. It’s really rewarding to be able to provide the Podiatry service to patients who really are in need of this service.
The biggest proportion of my work is Podiatry, although I do offer other therapies for a more holistic approach to their podiatry treatment. These include reflexology, foot and leg massage, manicure and pedicure. It’s a really complementary mix which means that I can provide a Podiatry treatment and then add something more relaxing or therapeutic, especially with the luxury of time as the appointments are usually between 45 minutes to 1 hour long.
Find out more about our Wellbeing Services here