Not too long ago sanitising and mask wearing wasn’t an essential part of our lives. In fact, these kinds of precautions were largely taken by those in the medical field as well those involved in vocations that dealt with noxious fumes and other areas of industrial applications. As we all know, life under the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about dramatic changes for everyone, but less for cancer patients. In fact, for many cancer patients, the precautions we are all taking now is something that they experience daily. As a cancer patient, catching an infection can easily turn into more than a minor inconvenience, instead it can result in serious health issues while also affecting one’s treatment. The type of precautions that experts recommend are the ones we’ve all been taking since early 2020 – avoiding handshakes, regular hand sanitising, and wearing face masks when leaving the comfort and security of our homes. Hygiene truly is key in the life of a cancer patient. Specific treatments can weaken the immune system, resulting in one being more prone to becoming sick, the source of which can be anything from viruses on unclean surfaces to germs spread through the air, down to contaminated food. In the case of lung cancer patients, specifically those suffering from COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), in addition to good hand hygiene, mask wearing is of tremendous importance.
Dispelling the myths around masks
The internet is a fantastic tool and resource, but it’s also a hub of misinformation and disinformation, the result of which can be complete confusion. With this in mind, it’s important to take a closer look at the applications of masks for those suffering from lung cancer and to dispel any myths surrounding the use thereof.
Myth No.1: Masks are unsafe to wear for people with lung cancer
In reality: Most if not all people afflicted with lung cancer can and should make the effort to wear a face mask. Contrary to some beliefs, masks don’t cause oxygen deprivation. Many people believe that there is bound to be some degree of discomfort whilst wearing a mask, especially over a long period of time. However, choose the right mask, one that is adjustable and breathable and offers a high level of protection and this apprehension can disappear. The Cambridge Mask provides a prime example of a face mask showcasing the latest in mask technology and comfort. The PRO, the basic and the non-valve have all been designed for maximum facial comfort and long hours of use. A sense of restrictive breathing when wearing a conventional mask doesn’t mean you’re getting less oxygen. Studies have illustrated that masks don’t inhibit the exchange of air even for those whose lives have been impacted by severe emphysema. Tied into the myth of masks being unsafe for lung cancer patients is the false belief that carbon dioxide builds up in the mask which in turns gets inhaled. The Cambridge Mask PRO is equipped with unique regulated valves which have been specifically designed to reduce c02 build up and ensure maximum breathability.
Myth No.2: Masks do nothing to prevent COVID-19 and other diseases
In reality: The only guarantee against COVID-19 is the avoidance of contact with others. However, face masks prevent your chances of contracting COVID-19 by 70% at least. In addition, medical evidence has indicated that should you be exposed to the virus while wearing a mask, that symptoms are likely to be milder since your lungs will ingest less virus particles. When used correctly, masks serve as protective barriers to other harmful ailments such as the flu and pneumonia, which in the case of people with lung cancer, can be debilitating. The Cambridge Mask has been designed with air pollution, viruses and bacteria in mind, making it an even more applicable mask for lung cancer patients
Myth No.3: A mask should be worn at all times
In reality: When it comes to the removal of your face mask, there is always a time and a place. If you’re outside and there there’s no one around, it’s perfectly okay to take your mask off. Also, when at home, your mask doesn’t have to be worn, even when around family members. However, if any family member or resident displays signs of illness, then it’s best that you mask up. When you’re out and about, even when practicing social distancing, and until this pandemic has come to past, it’s best you wear a mask when you’re in the presence of people who are not part of your household.
Myth No.4: If you use oxygen to breathe, then you cannot wear a mask
In reality: The majority of those who rely on oxygen can do so while wearing a face mask. If there are concerns around this matter, then it’s best that they be addressed with your lung specialist. However, it is widely accepted that a mask can be placed over the cannula, which is the plastic tube that carts oxygen in through your nose. What is important to note is that the mask should cover both your mouth and nose and not be stationed under your nose as it will then prove useless. Even when wearing a device like cannula, particles are still expelled when you breathe out, and when you inhale, you can still fall prey to virus particles, hence the valid advice to wear a mask.
Myth No.5: All masks are the same in their effectiveness
In reality: To get the most out of your mask, it’s important that you wear it correctly. Cloth masks, while touted as effective when the pandemic began, have in more recent times been deemed almost ineffective against the omicron variant. From a practical perspective, the mask should fit your face comfortably while not allowing for any gaps. The mask in question should also preferably be layered to provide additional barriers of protection. There’s been a fair amount of debate around face masks with valves, with some authoritative sources declaring that such masks allow for the entry of larger particles into the mask. This is however up for debate; the Cambridge Mask for instance, which has grown significantly in popularity, has a valve and has been proven to filter out 99.6% of pollution, viruses and bacteria. The mask’s triple filtration system is part of its ability to serve as such an incredible particle barrier. In addition, the valve itself also has a regulator. This mask doesn’t just sport these features, it also has the credentials to back them all up. Nelson Labs, a US-based global leader in the field of lab testing has scrutinised the Cambridge Mask, testing it for Viral Filtration Efficiency, Bacterial Filtration Efficiency and Differential Pressure (mask breathability), and Microbial Cleanliness – and the products has scored 99% and above in all these tests. Finally, bandannas, a popular mask alternative are best avoided, and it has been suggested you could even go so far as wearing two masks at once, as suggested by the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Disclaimer: Cambridge Mask is not a medical website. For any medical questions or advice, please consult a doctor or professional medical advisor.