Does Cancer Affect Wound Healing? Signs to Watch For

The older you get, the more likely you are to be diagnosed with cancer. 

In fact, those over age 74 comprise 28% of new cancer cases in the United States. In addition, more than 9 out of 10 cancers are diagnosed in those 45 and older. 

But often, this presents certain challenges for those with wounds. Does cancer affect wound healing? We’ll review the answers and let you know what we do at Bladen East to help our residents. 

Does Cancer Affect Wound Healing? We Examine How

Not all cancer patients have problems with wound healing. However, for many the natural progression of the disease and its treatments can pave the way for wounds that are difficult to treat and heal. 

The difficulty with cancer affecting wound healing is due to the traditional treatment—chemotherapy and radiation. Some of the side effects of these techniques include wound-healing complications. They impact the rapidly dividing skin cells called keratinocytes—and even immune cells. 

How Does Cancer Affect Wound Healing? We Take a Closer Look at Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy has a negative impact on the immune system because it causes a decrease in white blood cells. These cells are needed to help the body heal itself, particularly if there is a cut or injury. 

Radiation Therapy and Wound Healing

In a similar fashion, radiotherapy impedes circulation in the affected area. It also can cause ulceration, pain and a secondary infection. As a result, there could be difficulty conducting reconstructive surgery if needed. 

Non-healing wounds can also have a profound psychological effect, causing distress and anxiety. 

Cancer Treatment Can Cause Wounds

Cancer care can also cause wounds that need careful treatment and observation. These include radiation burns, incisions, scarring from surgery, and keloids—a type of thick, raised scar. 

Does Cancer Affect Wound Healing? Warning Signs of a Non-Healing Wound

One of the advantages of our skilled nursing in Elizabethtown at Bladen East is that our health care staff provides 24/7 care. This means we can easily spot the signs of a non-healing wound. 

So, does cancer affect wound healing? Some of the signs to look for include:

  • Skin that is scaly or broken
  • Swelling
  • Purple bruising
  • Redness
  • Pus drainage
  • Pain
  • Warmth at the area
  • Tenderness

At Bladen East, We Provide Help for Non-Healing Wounds

When you have consistent access to a medical team, your wound has a greater chance of healing properly. Non-healing wounds quickly become serious if not treated properly, and in extreme cases can lead to amputation—particularly if you also have diabetes. 

Take the Next Step for Skilled Nursing in Elizabethtown, NC

Are you ready to take the next step? Does your loved one need care you can no longer provide? Are you ready for customized care that provides peace of mind? If so, contact us