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What helped you during radiation?

SK12
Posts: 14
Joined: Mar 2013

Hello.  I was lurking about to find some info. Maybe this will also help others later. I had 4 rounds of chemo, mastectomy, another 3 rounds of taxol, and now two weeks into radiation. Like I need any more side effects, but here we go. I have dealt with everything head on, even with a smile, but was dreading radiation. 

I have Aquaphor, Vit E, aloe, baby wash, infant washcloths, and large soft shirts. I started to see changes to the affected area. Praying it doesn't get bad to the point of blisters. 

could you share what happened to you during radiation therapy and how you resolved the issue?

SK12
Posts: 14
Joined: Mar 2013

Thanks Chrissy. Will look into that. What helped you with the fatigue And itching?

 

Ritzy's picture
Ritzy
Posts: 4384
Joined: Aug 2009

SK12, I had what my rads oncologist called a rads rash.  I had itching and some tiny little red bumps.  What worked for me was a prescription called Triamcinolone Acetonide Cream.  It stopped the itching almost immediately.  Thank goodness!  LOL

 

Sue :)

ladyg's picture
ladyg
Posts: 1577
Joined: Apr 2010

when I was having rads was Aquaphor and Calendula Gel. I used the Aquaphor at night(thick coating) and a light coating in the early morning. My rads were at 3:30 pm so by then it was gone. I used the Calendula Gel right after my treatment, when I was getting dressed. It is not greasy like Aquaphor so it did not get on my clothes. I also used different bras as my treatments progressed. I used a sports bra with a zip front and then went to a barely there bra - very light weight. At home I went without. I did get red but never blistered.

The one thing I did have was extreme fatigue. I ended up having to take 2 weeks off from work at the end of my rads. And then started back at 4hrs per day and increased hrs biweekly.

I hope this helps you some. Good luck and keep strong. You will  make it through!

Hugs,

Georgia

smbrand158's picture
smbrand158
Posts: 19
Joined: Oct 2011

My radiation oncologist gave me some big, clear, silicon like pads to put on my chest that really helped. They gave me a layer of protection from my clothes rubbing against my skin. I wish that I knew what they were called, but ask your Dr, I am sure that they have them.

jnl's picture
jnl
Posts: 3873
Joined: May 2009

Lots of aquaphor and biafine.  Be very careful with your skin and always tell your rads onco what you're using, check with him first.  Also, have your skin checked by him or his nurse every week.

Leeza

Pink Rose
Posts: 495
Joined: Nov 2012

I had the fatigue too, a few weeks in and after I was finished.  Besides having the rads, just going everyday for weeks was wearing enough.  I did find that exercise helped me.  My husband and I would take walks together and I found it energized me a lot.

Good luck,

Rose

BlownAway60's picture
BlownAway60
Posts: 832
Joined: Nov 2009

I used 100% Pure Aloe Gel, 3 times a day. It worked for me. I did not burn at all.

Hugs

Donna

DebbyM's picture
DebbyM
Posts: 3294
Joined: Oct 2009

If you put the Aloe Gel in the frig, it really feels good on your skin.  Or, it did to me.  And, only the 100%, like Donna wrote.

gagee
Posts: 321
Joined: Sep 2010

I recently hear about the diaper cream usage also.  A friend said it was great and soothing. Diana

sea60's picture
sea60
Posts: 2601
Joined: May 2010

They nurses at the office actually gave me a cream to slather on after each treatment. At first, it was okay but as I got the daily treatments, the skin resembles a really bad sunburn. My biggest challenge was trying to be comfortable wearing a bra on the side that the breast was removed and was now being radiated. I just wore a really loose blouse and cut up a 100% cotton t-shirt and positioned it across my radiated side and wore a very loose bra. It worked. Just keep up with the cream. I'm sure they'll give you suggestions on what cream to use.

It'll be over before you know it.

Hugs!

 

DebbyM's picture
DebbyM
Posts: 3294
Joined: Oct 2009

If you use the aquaphor, use something like your husband's old tshirt or something you don't care about.  That stuff can stain and then you can just throw the tshirt away.

There's a great post on here, an older one, about rad tips.  I will see if I can bump it up for you.

Good luck!

DebbyM's picture
DebbyM
Posts: 3294
Joined: Oct 2009

If you use the aquaphor, use something like your husband's old tshirt or something you don't care about.  That stuff can stain and then you can just throw the tshirt away.

There's a great post on here, an older one, about rad tips.  I will see if I can bump it up for you.

Good luck!

disneyfan2008
Posts: 5332
Joined: Oct 2010

I had lumpectomy and radiation-but NO side effects at all. NOT tired, fatigue or burning or dry skin. I am still surprised since very fair skinned. I only had square light tan on radiated  breast. I am on tamoxifin now four and half years. The only thing i used were samples from Cancer center-sadly I do not remember the brand name.

Sending good thoughts your way...

 

Denise

faith_trust_and_a_little_bit_of_chemotherapy's picture
faith_trust_and...
Posts: 300
Joined: Jun 2010

Every cosmetic counter, infomercial, or ladies magazine article that I ever came across has always promoted the application of moisturizer on moist skin to 'lock-in' moisture.  I would head home after radiation, jump into the shower, and then liberally apply Aquaphor to the extended area...throat, armpit, abdomen, the whole remaining kit and kaboodle, while I was still wet.  I tossed on an oversized sweatshirt and that was my wardrobe and nightwear for the remainder of the evening.

Too, I followed instructions about the consumption of antioxidants and only used Tom's deodorant as I was warned that other products might have a aluminum chlorohydrate which could interfer with the administration of the radiation.

 

I can honestly say that my fair, almost bluish complexion, did not burn and my radiated skin is as supple as the non-radiated.   

Megan M's picture
Megan M
Posts: 3001
Joined: Dec 2009

After my rads treatment, I would put Aquaphor on me and keep it on until the next morning when I showered.  I would also apply Biofine under it and/or Aloe Vera. 

Also used Tom's of Maine deodorant, maybe once, but, I think the rads killed my sweat glands pretty quick, so, I didn't, and, still don't sweat under my arm.  You can't use any deodorant that has aluminum in it, and, most have that ingredient.

When I started my boosters, the rest of my skin started healing pretty fast. 

Keep using your creams even after your done with rads as you are still "cooking" for a few weeks.

Good luck and if you have any questions, just ask.

 

Ritzy's picture
Ritzy
Posts: 4384
Joined: Aug 2009

Aquaphor was great to keep my skin in good condition and Biafine for the little burning that I had.  Look at the radiation tips older post on here that someone bumped up.  It has a lot of good info that I hope will help you!

 

 

Sue :)

Tux's picture
Tux
Posts: 541
Joined: Aug 2009

The rads nurse gave me cream to use after every treatment.  I was a middle school teacher

at the time (now retired) and am rather "busty", so I had to wear a bra every day.  I went to

the local discount store & got a couple of "Just My Size "bras in cotton in a size or 2 bigger.

I wore them the whole time.  I got blisters & burned near the end & the nurse recommended

Domboro Soaks--I bought plain white flannel at the fabric store, cut it into big squares & laid them on the affected area.  I also lined my bra with them at the very end.  I was absolutely determined to get through it!

Also, I felt a bit nauseated toward the end--mints & a Vick's nasal inhaler helped me.  All I did was work & go to rads during that time, but I never felt fatigue--kept waiting for it, but it never happened!   Good luck with the rads--just take it a day at a time & it will be over before you know it!

Rague
Posts: 3297
Joined: Aug 2009

Domeboro Soaks are what finally healed me!  I didn't burn during rads but at the end/after.  Thankfully the deepest were in areas where there was nerve damage so didn't feel the worst of the pain.  I used all sorts of creams the Dr wanted me to but nothing helped (I even canabalized my huge aloe plant to no good).  I did not develope any infections which was good as I'm allergic to sulfa so Sulfadene/Silvadene was not and option.  I was scheduled to be sent to a burn unit but we tried Domeboro as a 'last ditch' and it worked great.

Never had any nausea at all on radsd - none on chemo either even when I quit taking the anti nausea meds (I've been told that if you had bad 'morning sickness' you were more likely to have nausea issues with chemo - I had no 'morning sickness' with either son).  I was completely and utterly exhausted from 12 weekly Taxol but felt better every day when I started rads a week later.

We are each so unique.

Winyan- The Power Within

Wuwan

jnl's picture
jnl
Posts: 3873
Joined: May 2009

I was also told to not wear wire push up bras.  I didn't wear a bra as I didn't really want to irritate my skin with anything.  Just wore a lot of loose tops.

Kristin N's picture
Kristin N
Posts: 1969
Joined: Mar 2009

I never burnt as some did, but, got as close as you can probably get to it.  I was glad when the boosters started as the rest started to feel and look better quickly.  I used so much Aquaphor that my hubby joked that I should have bought stock in it.  lol

My rads onco saw me at least twice a week to check my skin.  I know sometimes they have to stop rads if you are burning too badly and give your skin a break, but, I don't know if it happens frequently. 

Good luck!

survivorbc09
Posts: 4378
Joined: Jun 2009

Cotton bras are great to wear.  Also, did you ask your rads onco about taking vitamins?  Mine didn't want me too, so, I stopped them during rads.

How you doing now?

 

Jan

Tux's picture
Tux
Posts: 541
Joined: Aug 2009

The rads nurse gave me cream to use after every treatment.  I was a middle school teacher

at the time (now retired) and am rather "busty", so I had to wear a bra every day.  I went to

the local discount store & got a couple of "Just My Size "bras in cotton in a size or 2 bigger.

I wore them the whole time.  I got blisters & burned near the end & the nurse recommended

Domboro Soaks--I bought plain white flannel at the fabric store, cut it into big squares & laid them on the affected area.  I also lined my bra with them at the very end.  I was absolutely determined to get through it!

Also, I felt a bit nauseated toward the end--mints & a Vick's nasal inhaler helped me.  All I did was work & go to rads during that time, but I never felt fatigue--kept waiting for it, but it never happened!   Good luck with the rads--just take it a day at a time & it will be over before you know it!

Megan M's picture
Megan M
Posts: 3001
Joined: Dec 2009

If you find you can't wear a bra, but, need something, check out a camisole.  Some even have a built in bra in them.  They are much more comfortable and are soft next to your skin.

How is rads going for you?

desertgirl947's picture
desertgirl947
Posts: 419
Joined: Oct 2012

I finished radiation the end of last September.

All involved in the process were vigilant about my skin.  I started using Miaderm from Day 1.  Now that I look back at it, I probably could have used it more liberally.

I ran into some burn problems near the end. They were not such that they kept me from finishing on time.  I was at the point of shifting to the boost, and so the first area was no longer going to be hit with rays.  The nurse/doctor had me do this to treat the burns:  pat the area lightly with very diluted hydrogen peroxide.  (I forget the proportions.)  Then I covered the area with silvadene and gauze and left it for about 4 hours.  Then I took that off, cleaned the area again (with the diluted peroxide).  I left it uncovered for about 4 or so hours.  Then I would do the cleaning and silvadene again.  It worked out that I did not wear the silvadene/gauze through the night.

When I would go for the five final boosts, I had to be sure not to have the silvadene and gauze on.  I'd get to the radiation oncologist's office and the nurse would check it (as did the ones doing the radiation) before I had the boost to be sure there were no signs of infection AND that the area was not where the rays were being targeted.  After therapy a nurse would clean the burned area and carefully clean away the dead skin.

I knew when the same thing was happening because of the boosts; and so I automatically began the same care as for the other area, which healed quickly.  I had a few follow-up appointments just to be sure no infection was developing.  The dead skin was removed as well.  That area healed quickly as well.

I do recall that there were some who had to postpone radiation therapy for a bit because of their burns.  I have no idea what they may or may not have done to prevent or minimize the problem.

 

SK12
Posts: 14
Joined: Mar 2013

Thanks for all of your posts.  I wanted to get through this as prepared as I could. I have been receiving 2 boosts per week, since the beginning. The last 2 weeks (6 wk TX) will be with the boost everyday.  Monitoring changes as they happen. 

I planned a reward/birthday/end of radiation trip to Miami a week and a half after my last TX.  Can't miss any appointments and have to be a "good patient".  Received approval from my onco rad this morning and spoke with the surgeon just now and we are good to go.  
List for travel: Approval of all doctors and necessary precautions. Pharmaceutical needs. No compression sleeve needed for me. Sunscreen. Bug spray. USB medic alert bracelet. Paper copy of medical info in wallet. Number to the nearest hospital. (Since this is Miami, Mt. Sinai).  Swim shirt (have SPF 40+ built in). Very feminine dresses (sick of comfy clothes), flip flops, floppy hat, sunglasses, and a BIG FAT SMILE.
 
SN...my onco rad recommends either Aquaphor or aloe. RN told me, every doc in Hosp recommends different things and shrugged her shoulders. Again, different doctor, different plan.  Just had my Vit E intake reduced from 800 to 400 IU. They have not gotten back to me about soy, whole milk, ginger, mint, and mangoes. Still controversial. I have had a different diet plan for pre-chemo, chemo, surgery, and now radiation. So far, so good. Thanks everyone. It is wonderful to have the resources for different options. 
DID YOU KNOW...TSA will allow you to expedite your check in. They have a section that you should read, regarding BC survivors. 
http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/what-expect-if-you-are-breast-cancer-survivor
Happy travels everyone. 
DianeBC's picture
DianeBC
Posts: 3888
Joined: Jun 2009

Your reward trip to Miami sounds great and you sure deserve it!  Different rads oncologist's do recommend different prescriptions.  That's why it is always best to go with what yours says and approves of.  Always ask them before you try anything new.

From what I know, you can carry a card saying you are a bc survivor and wear a prosthesis.  That is supposed to help you.  Thanks for bringing that up.

Good luck!

Angie2U's picture
Angie2U
Posts: 2993
Joined: Sep 2009

I also used Dove white soap and it was very gentle on my skin.  Ofcourse, I use it anyway.  Keep the area covered and out of the sun and use a sunblock if you have to be in the sun. 

Your trip sounds wonderful!

SK12
Posts: 14
Joined: Mar 2013

Sorry, I wrote boost, when I should have wrote bolus.  Boosts only at the end. This autocorrect is killing me LOL. TY AGAIN AND GOD BLESS!!!

DianeBC's picture
DianeBC
Posts: 3888
Joined: Jun 2009

How are you doing with rads?  Doing ok?

Ritzy's picture
Ritzy
Posts: 4384
Joined: Aug 2009

Wondering how you are doing with rads too...

Sue :)

Alexis F's picture
Alexis F
Posts: 3604
Joined: May 2009

You certainly deserve a trip after rads!  My husband took me away too for a wonderful week at a cabin in the woods.  He wanted to take me to the beach, but, I didn't want to be in the sun.  lol

Hope you're doing well and that your skin is good.  Keep posting!

 

Lex

DebbyM's picture
DebbyM
Posts: 3294
Joined: Oct 2009

Looking for an update from you.  How are you?

Megan M's picture
Megan M
Posts: 3001
Joined: Dec 2009

A trip after you graduate rads?  That is going to be so good for you!  Just be sure and get lots of rest as rads will wear you down and you need rest.  Looked for an update too on how you are and didn't see one.  Hoping everything is ok with you.

 

 

SIROD's picture
SIROD
Posts: 2122
Joined: Jun 2010

The best part was being finished with radiation or any treatment.  Of all the treatments I have had for breast cancer, for me, radiation was the easiest.   My oncologist forgot to order rads when I was diagnose.  With my first recurrence with a tumor in the axilla, I did have radiation.  It also went up the chain of lymph nodes from the axilla up to the jaw line.

I did suffer burns in my neck but they did have a solution.  A year later, having the saliva gland killed, I did loose the bottom half of my teeth on the side that was radiated.  I needed a bridge.

Even given that, I would never hesistate to do radiation.  Of course, I wouldn't seek it out either.  I found it easier than surgery, certainly easier than chemo and easier than hormonal therapies I used for 18 years.  If you fear it don't.  It looks scary on your first visit but one gets use to the equipment and how good the techs are.

It was time consuming I had 36 treatments and given the holidays, and etc. It seem to go on forever.  They were the best organized of any medical group I ever encountered.  I could almost time how long it would be except for thetimes I saw the radiologist..  I did have 1 hour ride one way and another hour back home, those were the big draw back.  I worked throughout radiation, leaving 15 minutes early each day in order to make my appointment.  

Good wishes to you and may you be among the 70% of people who never have a recurrence Sk12.  I hope you enjoyed your trip to Miami.  Wonderful in March if you come from the northern parts of the US.

Best,

Doris

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