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Getting ready to start radiation in couple of weeks - any advice?

Posts: 57
Joined: Apr 2014

Hi everyone.  Just completed my 4th and LAST chemo infusion last Thursday (Cytoxan and Taxotere).  Still dealing with SE's but so happy that this phase is done!  So now gearing up for radiation which should start up in about 3 weeks.  Do any of you have any advice on how to manage radiation SE's?  I have heard that pure aloe vera, aquaphor are good.  Any advice would be appreciatated - thank you!

GlowMore's picture
Posts: 720
Joined: Feb 2008

They will usually give you Aquaphor and it does a very good job.  I got a little pink but did not burn on neck or breast area.  The side effects are usually exhaustion ....so rest when you are tired.

I remember that first day I was freaked out....but there was a wonderful PhD Physicist doctor there that day who talked to me and helped to settle my fears..........it was just so overwhelming to realize I was letting them hit me with RADIATION.... omg...........and the way that the technicians all RAN to get out of the room before they zapped me.  Another thing I hated was the day they drew the lines all over my body and I felt like apiece of meat and not a human being.  But...it was done for my benefit and God had me in His Hands...and I'm still here after 12 years...  Love and Prayers....


Posts: 3556
Joined: Aug 2009

I think the biggest surprize I had with rads was the size of the room and that there was no closeable door.  It was probably close to 40 feet in diameter (maybe more) and circular.  The entrance into it was an open 'arch' (square, not rounded) that was probably at least 8ft tall and at least as wide or wider.  There was nothing to close at all - totally open.   I was told that the design of the rounded walls  prevented any radiation from escaping.  There was a table sitting just outside of the entrance so you could keep your wig/scarf and terry cloth robe on until you actually walked in with only the techs seeing you.They had warmed blankets for you to stay warm if you asked. 

Posts: 583
Joined: Oct 2012

Use your lotion/cream generously.  I think I was a little stingey, mostly unsure how much I should use.  I did have some burns near the end, but not to the point of making a change in my schedule.  The med people were good about keeping an eye out for skin issues, and with their help, I healed quickly.

I did not have any issues with fatigue.  I worked half days (educator) until I finished.  I did take a few days off when I was treating my burns, just because that was easier.  I drove much of the time; but I had friends who helped out 2-3 times a week.  When the burns were a bit of a problem,  and my seatbelt was no help, I had some friends drive me for my last few appointment.

My rad onco was VERY on top of things, and I was confident in his decisions. 

I thought that rads were easier than chemo was.

You will find that different people react differently to almost anything, from chemo to rads, when dealing with bc.  That's just how it is.  We just do what we can to give you some ideas as to what to expect so that you are not caught too much by surprise on anything that happens. 


Posts: 5915
Joined: Oct 2010

I did not have any side effects..*UNusual I know..The only thing i used was some cream i was given as sample from cancer center. I honestly have no idea of what kind.


I wiish you the best...


Posts: 57
Joined: Apr 2014

Thank you for your advise!  I have heard that pure aloe vera and aquaphor are the best. 

SIROD's picture
Posts: 2204
Joined: Jun 2010

I worked (leaving 15 minutes earlier) during my radiation treatments.  I did have a slight burn and they gave me something (can't remember what) and it took the pain away and made it heal.

The only thing for me is that I had to travel 2 hours each for 36 treatments.  I was glad when it was over.

Best wishes,


Posts: 5915
Joined: Oct 2010


wow...really? 2 hrs each way? I feel really lucky I did mine on my lunch hour-10min drive each way!


Sorry nothing closer to you...I am sure tired of driving when it was done



Posts: 58
Joined: Sep 2013

I was kind of stupid and only put the cream on my nipple!!  I got a pretty good burn under my arm that really showed up at my last treatment.  Was pretty ouchy and did blister.  My own fault.  Be sure to put the cream everywhere, underarm  as well!!!



Posts: 3556
Joined: Aug 2009

I was kept well supplied with sample creams from my Center.  I don't remember the exact ones now but I also bought some Aquaphor to use.  Talk with your Dr for suggestioms. I was very severly warned not to use any cream BEFORE rads.

I started my 25 rads a week after 12th Taxol which had been BAD - completely and utterly EXHAUSTED.  I felt better every day throughout rads.  I had no skin issues during rads but the morning after the last one I was severly burned and it got worse with time.  (This is not to be expected at all - just weird me.) I had a HUGE tub of aloe vera plants and I all but annihiliated it using so much of it and all the other creams Dr suggested.  I could not use a popular script (Silvadene/Sulfadene) for rad burns as allergic to Sulfa.  What finally healed me was Domeboro soaks (Dr recommended).  Thankfully, I never had any infections to worry about.   Definately not trying to worry you about the possibility of burns - it is possible but very seldom do they become really severe.  Also, there are diferent treatments than the idea of just moisturizing creams once burns do develope.  Of course, whatever you use, be sure to check with your Dr.

Winyan - The Power Within


Sharon G's picture
Sharon G
Posts: 6
Joined: Jun 2014

Today is one month since my last radiation treatment.  It was much easier than chemo.  I worked through chemo and quite honestly, not sure how.  My job has me on my feet all day with the exception of driving from store to store.  After my last chemo and less than 2 weeks before surgery, I pooped out and went on medical leave.  I started radiation at the beginning of May and ended on the 23rd of May.  No burns, used Aquaphor and Dove soap.  My breast and underarm are still numb from the surgery, but I guess that is normal.  My biggest problem with radiation was how much it hurt to lay on the table (stomach down).  I've had colon surgery on that same side, always tender and it hurt like hell until about 2 weeks ago from the pressure of laying on that table.  The worst days were once a week when I had to be on the table longer to do x-rays.  This is what I did to pass the time...sang (to myself) "100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall".  After each 10 stanzas, I'd do The Serenity Prayer.  Odd?  Yes, but it got me through it.

Good luck and let us know how you are doing!

Posts: 57
Joined: Apr 2014

Hello everyone!  My radiation oncologist felt I was a good candidate to complete an accelerated radiation treatment plan (instead of 6 weeks, I am doing 4 weeks).  I am getting ready to start week three and am doing well!  I got some pure aloe vera and aquaphor - thank you so much for your suggestions - they are working.  I will keep you posted on my progress : )

Posts: 59
Joined: Nov 2013

Good to hear you are doing well! I just had to chime in with Rague. I had chemo first, then mod rad mast on rt side, then radiation for 7 weeks. I did well at first and toward the end I also started burning and it continued after rads were done. That was end of October 2013 and I still have my "tan lines"! I used Aquaphor...great stuff~I even use it now when I have scar issues...and the Domeboro soaks. I also got a cooling pad made by Lindi that helped take away the heat.

I laugh now, but my biggest worry during rads was that I would forget to put my gown on after I took my shirt off in the changing room! Would have made for interesting conversation in the waiting area!! Going in every day had become so routine that I always doubled checked myself to make sure I was covered.

Blessings to you!


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