Scar Tissue and Radiation

Hi.. does anyone know how radiation affects scar tissue? I haven't had a chance to speak with my Radiologist/Oncologist about this. I do know they are now planning to radiate both sides of my neck. On the right side it is the lowest part of my neck, and my whole right shoulder up to my neck and down to my elbow is 3rd degree scar tissue, and on my upper back is 1st degree damage. I do plan on asking but won't see them until possibly next week, as they are in the process of forming a plan of action. 

Prayers and Hugs ! 

Kritter

Comments

  • Mikemetz
    Mikemetz Member Posts: 465 Member
    Scar tissue

    Scar tissue from rads can't be avoided- but it can be minimized-it's just a matter of how much and if it can be reversed to any degree later on.  You can minimize the effects by treating the area with vitamins and creams, and by doing stretching exercises--so be sure to start those things right away.  It is a difficult battle, but do what the docs say and hope for the best.

     

    Mike

     

  • CivilMatt
    CivilMatt Member Posts: 4,722 Member
    rads a hot subject

    Kritter,

    My rads were limited from my chin line and the front and side portions of my neck (and of course my tongue).  I feel fine, look more tired and have lost some flexibility in my throat.  To the lay person, I look fine, just older.

    If you mean rads and existing scars, I do not know.  As said, there may be some steps you can take to minimize changes.

    Rad you later,

    Matt

  • hwt
    hwt Member Posts: 2,328 Member
    CivilMatt said:

    rads a hot subject

    Kritter,

    My rads were limited from my chin line and the front and side portions of my neck (and of course my tongue).  I feel fine, look more tired and have lost some flexibility in my throat.  To the lay person, I look fine, just older.

    If you mean rads and existing scars, I do not know.  As said, there may be some steps you can take to minimize changes.

    Rad you later,

    Matt

    Exercises

    be sure to have physical therapist give you the exercises...they work wonders in a very short period of time. I could not raise one arm to wash hair but within a week could cross that arm over head and touch opposite ear. 

  • Moisturise, moisturise,

    Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise.

    Start now. Don't wait for the radio to start, or for it to get sore. Use the products they recommend. I used E-45 and Aveeno, both of which I get on prescription.

    Stock up on unperfumed, no colour, lipsalve. You'll need it. It can be kept in the fridge if you find having it cooled down helps. I was told not to wear it during the radio, though, that it might affect the 'beams' somehow.

    Buy a couple of small plastic mister bottles, that you spray/mist stuff with, and you can put your painkilling mouthwash (e.g., Difflam), in them, or even just cool water, or saline, (see which your healthcare team say is best), and you can carry one in your handbag, and have one by your bed. You'll need something soothing for your mouth.

    If you can get Difflam mouthwash do. It's an NSAID painkiller AND anti-inflamatory. It really does help. I believe there's something called "Magic Mouthwash" in America, I'm afraid I don't know what it is, but people seem to like it and mention it a lot.

    During radio, when things got burnt, I was told to stop moisturising, and I was given a special wrap-around dressing, which helped speed up healing. I already had the scar from the neck dissection and tracheotomy.

    Be very, very careful with anything adhesive, in fact, try not to use any sticky dressings or tape on the burns. I made this mistake, and I ripped of a large stripe of skin off my upper chest. There's still a mark now, and that was the bit that took the longest to heal. This could have been entirely avoided, with a little care and patience Undecided

    As far as scarring from the radiotherapy itself, I don't have scars, so much, just some pink and pale beige discolouration. I lost my hair around the back, halfway up, which came inside the field of the beams. This has now grown back. It's dark hair! I found my, very attractive female moustache and chinny chin chin whiskers all fell out LOL! Tongue OutLaughing  of course sod's law meant they grew back first, long before the hair :D Seriously, though, if you do have to remove facial hair, as I do, you must be very, very gentle for months afterwards. Do not use a hair-removing cream. I slapped a load of Veet on my face, about 3 months after radio, and when I scraped it off, all the skin underneath it came off as well as the whiskers!

    After it heals, your skin will be delicate, like baby skin, for a long time (maybe always?) When I touch my skin now, it doesn't feel like normal, adult 43 year old skin. It does actually feel like a baby's skin. You'll need to treat it with care and respect :)

    This includes using FACTOR 50 sun protection.

    Unfortunately, it's not an easy treatment, but try to remember that it is WORTH it, and that you WILL HEAL. x x x x sending big hugs x x x x

  • Shell_7801
    Shell_7801 Member Posts: 71
    Estelle_H said:

    Moisturise, moisturise,

    Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise.

    Start now. Don't wait for the radio to start, or for it to get sore. Use the products they recommend. I used E-45 and Aveeno, both of which I get on prescription.

    Stock up on unperfumed, no colour, lipsalve. You'll need it. It can be kept in the fridge if you find having it cooled down helps. I was told not to wear it during the radio, though, that it might affect the 'beams' somehow.

    Buy a couple of small plastic mister bottles, that you spray/mist stuff with, and you can put your painkilling mouthwash (e.g., Difflam), in them, or even just cool water, or saline, (see which your healthcare team say is best), and you can carry one in your handbag, and have one by your bed. You'll need something soothing for your mouth.

    If you can get Difflam mouthwash do. It's an NSAID painkiller AND anti-inflamatory. It really does help. I believe there's something called "Magic Mouthwash" in America, I'm afraid I don't know what it is, but people seem to like it and mention it a lot.

    During radio, when things got burnt, I was told to stop moisturising, and I was given a special wrap-around dressing, which helped speed up healing. I already had the scar from the neck dissection and tracheotomy.

    Be very, very careful with anything adhesive, in fact, try not to use any sticky dressings or tape on the burns. I made this mistake, and I ripped of a large stripe of skin off my upper chest. There's still a mark now, and that was the bit that took the longest to heal. This could have been entirely avoided, with a little care and patience Undecided

    As far as scarring from the radiotherapy itself, I don't have scars, so much, just some pink and pale beige discolouration. I lost my hair around the back, halfway up, which came inside the field of the beams. This has now grown back. It's dark hair! I found my, very attractive female moustache and chinny chin chin whiskers all fell out LOL! Tongue OutLaughing  of course sod's law meant they grew back first, long before the hair :D Seriously, though, if you do have to remove facial hair, as I do, you must be very, very gentle for months afterwards. Do not use a hair-removing cream. I slapped a load of Veet on my face, about 3 months after radio, and when I scraped it off, all the skin underneath it came off as well as the whiskers!

    After it heals, your skin will be delicate, like baby skin, for a long time (maybe always?) When I touch my skin now, it doesn't feel like normal, adult 43 year old skin. It does actually feel like a baby's skin. You'll need to treat it with care and respect :)

    This includes using FACTOR 50 sun protection.

    Unfortunately, it's not an easy treatment, but try to remember that it is WORTH it, and that you WILL HEAL. x x x x sending big hugs x x x x

    Spray Bottle

    Estelle I love reading your posts.  Thank you for the great tips.  I am adding a spray bottle to my list of must haves.  

    I begin 7 weeks of radiation and chemo on Wednesday.  I almost feel like a kid counting down the days to Christmas! LOL  My present is going to be the oblituration of my cancer.  

    Michelle

  • Noellesmom
    Noellesmom Member Posts: 1,859 Member
    scar tissue

    Forgive me if I'm misunderstanding but are you saying you already have serious scars and wonder how they will be affected by radiation?  If so, I believe you want to consult with a dermatologist, kritter.

  • Shell, just keep focused on

    Shell, just keep focused on the prize of obliteration of the cancer! It's not an easy road. I had massive surgery then 6 weeks of radio, but I didn't have chemo. We all get affected in different ways.

    Just keep working on each day, one day at a time, and we will get there! I've found everyone here to be so compassionate and helpful too, in a very practical, common-sense way. This place is a bit of a lifeline really!

  • Kritter
    Kritter Member Posts: 147
    Estelle_H said:

    Moisturise, moisturise,

    Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise.

    Start now. Don't wait for the radio to start, or for it to get sore. Use the products they recommend. I used E-45 and Aveeno, both of which I get on prescription.

    Stock up on unperfumed, no colour, lipsalve. You'll need it. It can be kept in the fridge if you find having it cooled down helps. I was told not to wear it during the radio, though, that it might affect the 'beams' somehow.

    Buy a couple of small plastic mister bottles, that you spray/mist stuff with, and you can put your painkilling mouthwash (e.g., Difflam), in them, or even just cool water, or saline, (see which your healthcare team say is best), and you can carry one in your handbag, and have one by your bed. You'll need something soothing for your mouth.

    If you can get Difflam mouthwash do. It's an NSAID painkiller AND anti-inflamatory. It really does help. I believe there's something called "Magic Mouthwash" in America, I'm afraid I don't know what it is, but people seem to like it and mention it a lot.

    During radio, when things got burnt, I was told to stop moisturising, and I was given a special wrap-around dressing, which helped speed up healing. I already had the scar from the neck dissection and tracheotomy.

    Be very, very careful with anything adhesive, in fact, try not to use any sticky dressings or tape on the burns. I made this mistake, and I ripped of a large stripe of skin off my upper chest. There's still a mark now, and that was the bit that took the longest to heal. This could have been entirely avoided, with a little care and patience Undecided

    As far as scarring from the radiotherapy itself, I don't have scars, so much, just some pink and pale beige discolouration. I lost my hair around the back, halfway up, which came inside the field of the beams. This has now grown back. It's dark hair! I found my, very attractive female moustache and chinny chin chin whiskers all fell out LOL! Tongue OutLaughing  of course sod's law meant they grew back first, long before the hair :D Seriously, though, if you do have to remove facial hair, as I do, you must be very, very gentle for months afterwards. Do not use a hair-removing cream. I slapped a load of Veet on my face, about 3 months after radio, and when I scraped it off, all the skin underneath it came off as well as the whiskers!

    After it heals, your skin will be delicate, like baby skin, for a long time (maybe always?) When I touch my skin now, it doesn't feel like normal, adult 43 year old skin. It does actually feel like a baby's skin. You'll need to treat it with care and respect :)

    This includes using FACTOR 50 sun protection.

    Unfortunately, it's not an easy treatment, but try to remember that it is WORTH it, and that you WILL HEAL. x x x x sending big hugs x x x x

    Skin

    Estelle.. I love reading your posts, you are so upbeat and so helpful to so many on here. I don't know what I would do if I hadn't found this site. There are so many on here that are just such a blessing to us newbies. I bet you would be a blast to hang out with. 

    I do try to stay hydrated and moisturize my skin, I have always had to be careful due to the scars I recieved as a child when being outdoors in the sun. Plus I have always had sensitive skin, which doesn't help. And so much skin cancer in my family, that I learned early not to worry about a tan. 

    I always use paper tape and stay away from bandaids if I can as well, as they tend to irritate my skin. Darn ! I was hoping to lose this little moustache I developed afer menopause.. Cry.. I even asked if they could radiate a bit lower to remove it...Doc just laughed. 

    I was also told to use unscented shampoo, body wash, and hand soap and started when I got Miss Peg. I asked the pharmacist what he would recommend. He told me Aveeno.. and baby shampoo. And to take luke warm showers, no hot water or cold water, always use luke warm.

    I love the idea of a mist bottle as my mouth stays so dry, especially at night since I can't breathe through my nose anymore. Several times at night I wake to take a sip of water, and my treatments haven't even started yet. 

    I plan to ask the Doc as soon as I see him what he thinks about these scars on my shoulder and back, as at first they were only going to radiate my upper face now my whole neck is involved. 

    Hugs to you and everyone on here.. ! 

    Prayers and hugs !

    Kritter

  • Kritter
    Kritter Member Posts: 147

    scar tissue

    Forgive me if I'm misunderstanding but are you saying you already have serious scars and wonder how they will be affected by radiation?  If so, I believe you want to consult with a dermatologist, kritter.

    Already have scars

    I was seriously burned as a child in an accident. I will have my Oncologist refer me to a dermatologist, I am just hoping this doesn't stop my treatment date again. 

  • Kritter
    Kritter Member Posts: 147
    CivilMatt said:

    rads a hot subject

    Kritter,

    My rads were limited from my chin line and the front and side portions of my neck (and of course my tongue).  I feel fine, look more tired and have lost some flexibility in my throat.  To the lay person, I look fine, just older.

    If you mean rads and existing scars, I do not know.  As said, there may be some steps you can take to minimize changes.

    Rad you later,

    Matt

    Looking older

    I know I look older and more tired and not even into treatments yet.. most people always guss me in my late 40's and I am in my late 50's, but lately I am looking my age and starting to act it.. Frown which I am not used to at all.. I will be checking on these existing scars soon..and will post the tips to help others if there is something special they want me to do.. 

    Prayers and Hugs ! 

    Kritter

  • Kritter
    Kritter Member Posts: 147
    Thanks

    Thanks to all who replied.. there is such a wealth of info on here from everyone! 

  • jackflash22
    jackflash22 Member Posts: 524 Member
    Estelle_H said:

    Shell, just keep focused on

    Shell, just keep focused on the prize of obliteration of the cancer! It's not an easy road. I had massive surgery then 6 weeks of radio, but I didn't have chemo. We all get affected in different ways.

    Just keep working on each day, one day at a time, and we will get there! I've found everyone here to be so compassionate and helpful too, in a very practical, common-sense way. This place is a bit of a lifeline really!

    Chemo
    Is it a UK thing not having chemo with rads. I didn't get chemo either and I'm from UK. I didn't ask why as I was so pleased not having it and I didn't want to put a suggestion into the onc's head.