CSN Login
Members Online: 5

Radiation burn treatments

husband2
Posts: 9
Joined: Oct 2011

My wife has severe burns in her crotch, which spread to her anus today. She finished 30 days of radiation 5 days ago and chemo 10 days ago. She was hospitalized 3 days ago with dehydration, low white blood cells, red blood cells, potasium and a host of other problems. But her burns are horrible and getting worse and the hospital doesn't seem to have a better regimen than keeping her hydrated, infection away and pain reduced. Is there something that she can do for her burns? She is 51, stage 4 with a small spot on her liver. Ideas please?

Phoebesnow
Posts: 448
Joined: Apr 2011

They usually recommend silver sulfadiazine cream. I am allergic to sulphur, so used aquaphor a lot, reapplying as often as once an hour. I was burned pretty badly also, and had a home nurse. She would clean the burns with the saline and that felt really good. I would stand in the tub and just hold the hand held shower on cool sometimes for an hour. I think sitz bath helps some. This is such a scary time, I know, but she will be ok. U r a good husband to be so caring. Keep in touch.

husband2
Posts: 9
Joined: Oct 2011

She had been using the Silvadine, but that made the area more red and irritated and was painful when applying. She used the aquaphor as well, but she seemed to be getting worse. Maybe it is just the progression, but I'm hoping we can get her a better day asap. Thank you

AZANNIE
Posts: 390
Joined: Mar 2011

I empathize with your wife. I was hospitalized in May with the same symptoms as your wife. One doctor suggested saline solution. So I poured that on the area. The hospital wound nurse was called and she prescribed xenaderm ointment which was applied to the area and then desitin was applied on top of that. That helped. It does get better...

AZANNIE
Posts: 390
Joined: Mar 2011

Sitz baths help, too.

husband2
Posts: 9
Joined: Oct 2011

I will mention this item to the doctors. Thank you.

ShellWell47
Posts: 8
Joined: Jun 2010

thank the Lord she finished treatment! Now healing of the area can begin without interruption. For me, the only thing that provided any temporary comfort was a bath, I had some friends buy me Lush (they are online) bath products which really made me feel nice and pampered. The variety of choosing different "bath bombs," etc. was always something to look forward to and none of them bothered my burns and I would soak soak SOAK! That might be a nice surprise for her! She is at the low point, just finishing treatment. I pray she finds a little relief every day.

cap630
Posts: 150
Joined: Jul 2011

I was also hospitalized after treatment with burns. Sitz baths helped and I was prescribed Biafine cream. Relief will come. I will pray for her. ~Carol

BeaRose's picture
BeaRose
Posts: 45
Joined: Jul 2011

I too landed in the hospital at 6 weeks into a 7 week radiation regimen. My wbc was at 100 so I was in isolation. While in there I received whirlpool burn treatment and they prescribed silvadene cream. The radiation had burned my ilium to the point that it quit functioning. That caused me to be unable to absorb nutrition. I also stopped producing blood and had to have 4 units whole blood, 3 units plasma, and 12 units of platelets. The worst part for me was when I had to pee. It made me cry it hurt so bad cause it went all over the burns. One of the first things the doctor did was order a cath. He will forever be my hero. It remained in place for the next 3 weeks until I was released from the hospital, and finished my last week of radiation.

husband2
Posts: 9
Joined: Oct 2011

I don't think her wbc was quite that low, but she was in isolation. She also had a cath put in, but she hates it. But maybe she would hate the pain of peeing more. She is very swollen and the cath is just a pain. They discussed a transfusion and haven't ruled it out yet, but most of her counts are getting closer to being in line. Her radiation doctor doesn't seem to know what to do about burns as he specializes in radiation (argh). The local hospital doesn't seem to know a lot about deep radiation burns and certainly not down there. So I think the real answer for me is to find a bigger better hospital that has seen this before. Thanks for your help.

husband2
Posts: 9
Joined: Oct 2011

Thanks for the biofine idea. I appreciate the help.

Lorikat's picture
Lorikat
Posts: 558
Joined: Jul 2011

Oh how well I remember!  Biafine and a lidocaine gel helped, but only time made it better...  Good luck

 

husband2
Posts: 9
Joined: Oct 2011

The radiation doctor wants to give her more "directed" treatments, but will wait for some healing. They also "surprised her by mentioning a probable rectal or colon cancer. I will look into the Lush. Thank you

Phoebesnow
Posts: 448
Joined: Apr 2011

Did she have pet scan colonscopy b4 treatment?This is an odd time to bring up the possibility of a new or different cancer. I think u do need to change to a larger hospital and get second opinion. U should start to request copies of everything, so they will be ready for transfer. U should advise your area and maybe someone can chime in with recommendations for doctors/hospitals. There is also the rare cancer alliance website that has a lot of anal cancer participation.

Good luck to u both.

husband2
Posts: 9
Joined: Oct 2011

I guess that they hinted at it when they originally diagnosed the anal cancer. They said that she was stage 4 anal with a spot in her liver and several lymph nodes. Their indirect hint was that they wanted to treat the anal cancer, then look at the liver to figure out what kind of cancer that was. I don't recall what they said was "off" in her blood sample, but whatever it was was an indicator of a different cancer somewhere between her mouth and rectum. I think that they just wanted to look forward to getting through a step.

7243
Posts: 223
Joined: Feb 2011

Hello Husband2 ... what a sweet man you are.

Okay ... my radiation oncologist had me use Domeboro's solution. You can get it from the drug store over the counter I think ... I mixed it up, soaked gauze pads or telfa in it and laid it on the burns. I laid bottomless on a towel with my butt raised on a pillow with the soaks on my burned area. I hadn't thought of this in a while ... it was horrific when I look back on it. This did provide some relief for me. Check with the radiation oncologist to see if this is okay for her to use.

check out this link ... i used the powder packs. www.bayercare.com/domeboro.cfm

Soaking in the tub helped ... using a warm sitz bath bag on the toilet helped me too. Every time I went to the bathroom i filled that thing with warm water and spritzed it on my butt and bottom until the bag was empty... it helped too.

Aveeno Oatmeal baths were helpful as well ....

Narcotics are necessary ... Fentanyl patches work well, or oral meds work too, but make sure she takes Senocot S so she doesn't get constipated ... that is insult to injury.

As for second opinions ... I hope you are at a large cancer center or have access to one ... There are many who handle colon cancer. Consider going to MD Anderson in Houston, Sloan Kettering in New York, MAYO Clinics Minnesota or Arizona, Moffitt Cancer center in Florida, UCLA in California, Dana Farber in New England, University of Pennsylvania Abramson CA Center, Roswell in New York or one of the other big ones... not sure where you are.
Here is a link to top colon cancer centers ... http://www.coloncancerresource.com/best-cancer-hospitals.html

Hope this helps ... God Bless you and your wife ... xoxo

husband2
Posts: 9
Joined: Oct 2011

Thanks for the ideas. I was able to get her an appointment with the wound specialist at the cancer center in the Cleveland Clinic, tomorrow. I feel better. Hopefully she will feel better soon. I hope they won't be at a loss for ideas. A little improvement would lift her spirits. Thank you.

AZANNIE
Posts: 390
Joined: Mar 2011

Congrats on getting an appointment with the wound care specialist so quickly! When the wound care nurse saw me she knew right away what to do so hopefully your wife will get some relief soon. It's frustrating when the radiation doctor doesn't know what to do for the burns. My rad. doctor wasn't helpful either... You're a great advocate for your wife.

7243
Posts: 223
Joined: Feb 2011

Perfect ... this appointment will be helpful I hope. And I do understand that any improvement will help! Best wishes ...

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

I really hope that your wife is being treated at a top rated cancer hospital. All hospitals are not equal at all! If she hasn't been treated at a very reputable hospital, get her to one right away. What state are you in?

I also had a second cancer, unrelated, that had to be dealt with after the treatment for anal cancer. In my case, they did a biopsy before the first treatment so they knew what they were dealing with. i know that if I had not been at a very reputable hospital, I would be dead already. 8 weeks after I finished treatment for anal cancer, I had major surgery for the second cancer.

I hope that your wife feels better soon. Healing is usually fairly quick.

dianeboehm
Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 2010

Once radiation treatments were over, my burns actually got worse for several weeks and then eventually got better. The radiation is still working and takes about a month to start the healing process. Unfortunately it just takes time. I know that is hard to hear. I know how she feels, you finally get done with treatment so you think, ok, I should start feeling better.

I was given Nupercanal after the treatments were done and it worked great. It helps the pain, but doesn't take all the pain away. I couldn't take pain killers as they made me constipated.

I pray that she finds some relief soon.

Angela_K
Posts: 374
Joined: Jan 2011

The burns do get worse about 5-7 days after treatment ends. Then for me, the pain ended almost immediately. Healing was quick. Seek other advice from clinic/hospital with a team of gastrointestinal oncologists.

Watching your wife enduring this has to be painful for you. Blessings to your family and please keep us updated. We're here for you.

Blessings~ Angela

husband2
Posts: 9
Joined: Oct 2011

I was wrong about seeing a wound doc. The doctor we saw was a radiation oncologist. I liked him as he seemed to have great knowledge and he could explain it to us.

Doc confirmed what you just said. The visible effects of radiation follow the radiation by 7-10 days. So what you "see" on week 3 is from what happened on week 1 or 2. So on week 5, when my wife didn't think that the creams were working as the burns were worsening because of the continued radiation. The creams may have been fine, just the burn source (radiation) was doing its job.

He said that the largest factors are: 1. medication for pain control; 2. cleanliness; and 3.some moisturizers but plenty of air.

My wife claims the Silvadine irritates her, but she is going to try it again as the doc recomended it. He also thought that the Xenaderm which the local hospital prescribed was good as well. But no gauze, as they suggested. He said use one for several hours, then the other, then air. He suggested that the creams would build up, so the creams should be removed using a vinegar and water solution to break it up.

The biggest thing (for my wife's sanity) was control of pain, for which he prescribed morphine.

Since she is 7 days out of radiation, healing should start soon. Good. She seems much more comfortable now with the morphine.

Good things take time. Thanks for everyones ideas.

z's picture
z
Posts: 1257
Joined: May 2009

I'm glad that you have some information and prescribed medicine that will benefit your wifes pain. It feels like razor blades in the most sensitive area. I hate to be so graphic, but thats the best way to describe it. I found that the baths help a lot also, and I used bag balm, which is used on cow utters. Now this was given to me by my radiologist and I used it through the whole treatment process and after. I hope your wife will start healing asap. Lori

AZANNIE
Posts: 390
Joined: Mar 2011

I'm glad you found a radiation oncologist that knew what to do. The vinegar solution makes sense, since vinegar has been used for sunburns so maybe that will help with the burns in addition to removing the creams. Wearing boxer shots is helpful because they don't rub in the crease of the legs and there's more air flow. Healing should start soon and then it's pretty fast.
I wish all radiation oncologists were knowledgeable about radiation burns...

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 2948
Joined: Jan 2010

I have heard that these pads applied to the burned area can be quite soothing.

mitchi
Posts: 1
Joined: Nov 2013

This forum was so completely helpful as a resource during my mother's treatment. Her burns were unbearably painful. Because the sitz bath proved to be too cumbersome, we took the idea (thanks to the suggestions) and filled douce bags with water for her to use while going to the bathroom--which proved to be quite a relief (all that can be had, anyway). We wouldn't have thought of this if not for the suggestions posted on this forum.

I can't tell you how much we appreciated the resource. 

Thank you

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 2948
Joined: Jan 2010

I'm glad you found good information here that helped your mother.  I think the advice from people who have been there is better than any advice given by the medical professionals.  How is your mother doing?  I hope her recovery is going well.

Subscribe with RSS
About Cancer Society

The content on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. Use of this online service is subject to the disclaimer and the terms and conditions.

Copyright 2000-2014 © Cancer Survivors Network