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Lotions and creams

Posts: 123
Joined: Dec 2009

I am starting rads on Monday and I would like to know what any of you would suggest for lotions and creams that worked for you. The rad nurse said that they start people out on uncsented Lubriderm lotion for the first two weeks and then use Binafine cream thereafter. I am very fair skinned and I am worried about burning and blistering. My breast is large and the nurse said that sometimes there is a problem with skin on skin irritation with large breasted women.Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I am getting nervous about this whole procedure.Thanks.

chickad52's picture
Posts: 499
Joined: Jun 2009

I just finished rads last Monday and I was given Bliss to use on my burn. That didn't seem to work so they switched me to the Biafine. I too am fair skinned, so I did burn and am having a time healing. The doc put me on an antibiotic as I was starting to get a infection. Everyone is so different. But if you do as your doc tells you ,you will get through it just fine. A small price to pay to get rid of the beast!! Good Luck to you, Diane

TraciInLA's picture
Posts: 1942
Joined: Jul 2009

The equipment used for radiation varies greatly from center to center, so it's VERY important to use the specific lotions and creams that YOUR nurse or doctor recommends. It also helps to begin using them before you even start rads, so, if the nurse told you that you'll start on unscented Lubriderm, then it would be a good idea to start using it this weekend.

Having said that, I did get a few tips from this board -- that I FIRST asked my doctor or nurse about. Chen had talked on this board about using the Aveeno unscented body wash, and the nurse agreed that was a good choice, so I used it all through rads, and it was very soothing. Several women had also mentioned using the Tom's of Maine deodorant, and my doctor agreed that was fine to use.

The skin on skin irritation you mention may be under your breast(s), what my rads oncologist always referred to as "the bra line." I am also fairly large, and he kept on me all through rads to use plain cornstarch underneath my breasts. You might ask your doctor or nurse if they recommend that.

Bottom line is to ALWAYS ask FIRST, before using anything anywhere near where you're being treated. And try not to worry too much -- they really have a sizable arsenal of prescription lotions and creams they can give you if you start to burn too badly or if it gets too itchy or uncomfortable.


DebbyM's picture
Posts: 3294
Joined: Oct 2009

Hi Terri. Use what your own rads oncologist suggests. But, if you read something on here that is different, ask him about it. I used what a lot did, Biafine for any burn, and, Aquaphor to keep my skin moist. Good luck!

tgf's picture
Posts: 955
Joined: Mar 2009

I was given a "special" deoderant which I used during chemo and they suggested a few lotions and creams. I tried some of them but finally asked if I could just use straight/plain aloe gel (NOT lotion or cream WITH aloe ... but the clear gel stuff you get at the grocery and drug store). I was told I could ... so that's all I used. It was great for the "burn" and helped the healing of a couple of little open spots I got. I swear by the stuff!


MyTurnNow's picture
Posts: 2694
Joined: Aug 2009

Terri, I also had great results with aloe. That's all I used throughout rads. I think a good indicator as far as how your skin will fare with rads is to look at how your skin handles sun. The most important thing though is to follow the advice of your doctor. Good luck!

Posts: 33
Joined: Dec 2009

I used calendula cream that I bought at Whole Foods for about $10. It is made from marigold flowers and the formula I bought was unscented. I reaseached online, and calendula seemed to be the best one for radiated skin in a number of studies. I didn't burn at all, but I can't say if it was just me or the cream helped. It sure felt good when my skin was hot. [I was given Biafine, but the smell of perfume was so strong I didn't even try it.]

Summary below, you can read about it yourself if you like:


Studies cited in this paper concluded that the following common products seem to be effective:
• Aqueous cream was more effective than aloe vera in reducing dry desquamation and pain.
• Calendula was more effective than Biafine (trolamine) in treating skin irritation and pain.
• Hyaluronic acid (0.2%) was more effective than a placebo in preventing and treating skin
• Topical steroids, including 1% hydrocortisone and 0.1% mometasone furoate, were effective in treating or preventing skin irritation, though not necessarily recommended as a first choice of treatment.

bjmom1's picture
Posts: 152
Joined: Jan 2010

I am not fair skinned and still burn and had blisters. I used the Binafine cream and it did not work for me. My doctor suggested that I used eucerin moisturizing cream. She told me to put it on heavy everyday and it worked burns and blister heal quickly. I hope you fine something that will work well for you.

Posts: 123
Joined: Dec 2009

Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I am going to stock up and be ready because I so remember the sun burn days when I was younger. I could not even lay down on my back at times. I would get blisters as big as saucers. Ouch!My first radiation went well. I was somewhat disappointed at the attitude of the rad staff. I understand that their job is routine to them but I was really nervous and none of them seemed to take into account that this was my first time and I didn't know what to expect. They just said do this and that and when they were done, "bye see you tomorrow". Maybe I was expecting too much? I don't know I felt like I was just a number and they mechanically processed people. Hopefully today will be better.

Cairmaid's picture
Posts: 64
Joined: Feb 2010

I'm so sorry you seem to have an impersonal rad staff. I think it depends on the "office culture." Hopefully, they were just having a bad day. At least you won't feel so lost from now on.

Posts: 123
Joined: Dec 2009

well today was day 3 of rads and the staff is still the same. They are a pretty much all business and conduct treatment as such. I guess I am just there for treatment not a social event or to make friends but it would be nice to have a little more of a personal touch. Today was a bit awkward because there is a patient waiting room with a dressing room in it and today it was just men waiting and I felt a little uncomfortable sitting there in the gown provided that doesn't fit proper. I am a large woman and they just have the "normal" size gowns that expose most of my back. I had asked them yesterday if they had any large gowns and they said "no". The breast center where I got my mammo done did have large size gowns and it felt good not to be humiliated by wearing one too small. I am sure I am not the only larger size person that they treat.Maybe I should buy my own.

MyTurnNow's picture
Posts: 2694
Joined: Aug 2009

Terri, I'm sorry that you are experiencing what sounds like very insensitive individuals. They may not "have" larger gowns but I would think they could "get" a larger gown from their supplier. Perhaps you should ask for the person-in-charge and explain your feelings to them. Or, you will see the doctor once a week, if your center is like mine, and hopefully he/she will be a bit more compassionate. I agree you are probably not the only one experiencing this. Luckily, rads don't last forever and you'll be done soon. Take care and continue to post. Good luck on getting a new gown.

TraciInLA's picture
Posts: 1942
Joined: Jul 2009

While it sounds like most women here worked with rad techs who were warm and compassionate, I also had techs who often seemed to forget there was a person attached to the body they were working on. So -- though I know it doesn't do much to help you -- I can at least empathize with what you're going through.

But at least my center had generously sized gowns, and I never felt exposed wearing one. I think MyTurn has a good suggestion that you may need to speak directly to the doctor about their unwillingness to provide gowns that respect your modesty and dignity, especially if they require you to sit in a co-ed waiting area -- Terri, you deserve to be treated with respect, and the word "humiliated" should NEVER be part of how you feel during medical treatment. OF COURSE they can order larger-sized gowns -- don't let them tell you they can't!

I also had to go "over the heads" of the rad techs and speak to the doctor about one situation -- he was very angry about it, and so reassuring and understanding with me, and definitely took some action, as the techs treated me much better the next time I saw them.

Please keep us posted on how you're doing -- I know how it seems like rads will never be over when you're just beginning!


fauxma's picture
Posts: 3577
Joined: Dec 2008

My facility for my breast radiation had 2 dressing rooms with waiting areas. One for males and one for females. They also had a variety of gowns including ones for large (like you and I) ladies. You could buy your own gown at a hospital supply place and take it with you. I don't think that they are very expensive. You could also put on their gown and then use a 2nd gown to put on like a robe. If they complain because you have to take off the 2nd gown before they can position you on the table, then tell them that you are not comfortable with your back being exposed while in the waiting room. It is ridiculous that they are using a one size fits all gown or only sm, med and large. There are lots of plus size people that get cancer. They need to make sure that their needs are being met.

JacquiAL's picture
Posts: 29
Joined: Feb 2010

My suggestion is that you ask them again to get you a gown that fits. The same situation happened with a woman when I was getting my rads and they brought her to the room where they store the gowns and made sure she got one she was comfortable with.

I'm sorry to hear that the rad techs are not sensitive. Have you seen your radiologist/oncologist yet? I think you could mention how you are feeling about the techs to him or her and also mention the situation with the gown if it has not be resolved by the time your see the rad/onc.

The rads do go by fast but you should feel comfortable as possible with the situation while you are going through it.


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