august70 Member Posts: 1 *
edited February 19 in Breast Cancer #1

Hi I just wanted to see how people did with radiation. I just am 3 weeks post mastectomy. I will be starting at the end of the month. I was told it will be 5 wks since it was invasive. Left breast only. I have been told it's nothing like chemo but then heard or read that sometimes taste can go again. Also should I buy a cold pack to put over it. Thanks for any advice


  • olivesew
    olivesew Member Posts: 12 Member

    Hi, radiation is very fast, it doesn't hurt. You lay on a table and a machine revolves above and around you, right to left or left to right, and is has different devices that you will see that can fold in and out. I did not have side effects, though they say a lot of people feel tired. After two weeks, they gave me cream to put on the skin to help if it gets red. A lot of people start using the cream before any redness is seen and that helps . I used Miaderm, put it on right after the radiation treatment, but not the morning before the treatment. Some people use Aquafore.

    You may want to look at my post from January 27, Questions to ask before starting radiation.

    Good luck, I am sure you will do fine with your treatments.

  • LifeInBloom100
    LifeInBloom100 Member Posts: 51 Member

    Hi there!

    SO! I have JUST finished 26 rounds myself to the left breast (last week!) following a double mastectomy in October. Perhaps I can lend some additional (to Olive Sew's) insight about my radiation experience.

    Firstly, every one is different, as is both their physical and emotional reaction to undergoing this treatment. I had crossover and simultaneous appointments with 5 weeks' worth of fellow treatment patients on that rolling basis to be able to make this observation. Some end up more fatigued than others, and some earlier than others. Some people get by with a light suntan to the area treated, while others end up with exponential burns.

    That said, I will tell you that I went through the process entirely alone - all my appointments, all of my cancer treatment (not many know in my life and I am divorced additionally) - and I must say I'm surprised I wasn't more "knocked down" than I expected to be. That I was able to - and made sure to - force myself to exercise before each daily appointment may have contributed to my resilience. I would suggest that if you are in a position to at least do some moderate paced walking for however long you feel up to it daily, it may help your stamina and may also help you with the deep inspiration breath hold for 20 seconds per beam you'll be guided to do during treatment. The deep breath hold expands the chest out away from the heart, to help reduce the incidental radiation to that organ. (I honestly can't say I'm immune to concerns about my heart and lungs, as this is on the left side and I did report feeling some dull lung pain - which comes and goes.)

    The sessions themselves are about 15 minutes long typically, and are painless, indeed. That said - it's important to attempt to do some light stretches (IF you can and IF your skin will allow - a physical therapist in network can also give you tips to carry you through), and VERY IMPORTANT to START using those creams a few days BEFORE you begin radiation (stop all application 4 hours before each treatment, as it requires clean, dry skin), and IMMEDIATELY after each treatment, and before you go to bed. Apply it before radiation-induced dermatitis begins - usually evident between 2.5 to 3/4th week, for most. This preemptive skin conditioning will aid you in your healing later. I personally did not see visible burning until the very end of my 3rd week. I kept it under control through the 5th, but the post-treatment lore you hear about is true - the accumulative effect carries on for another couple of weeks. BUT ---- as red as I am -- I have ZERO skin breakage, zero blistering, zero lymphedema, and zero cording -- the latter two of which I attribute to having kepy my body moving and forced mindset to get the heck through this.

    I'll also add one uncanny note -- it was actually some kind of joy to see the kind radiotherapists I came to know a bit, and ABSOLUTELY delighted in the few friendships that developed in the patient waiting area, where we awaiting our summons via the restaurant-style pagers together for weeks.

    Oh -- please ask your doctor on this, but everything I have read indicates do NOT apply ANYTHING COLD OR HOT to your radiated skin. Mentioning this because of your cold-pack comment!

    Like Olive Sew, I too used Miaderm and can't really speak to its overwhelming effect, as I used Remeverse Radiatio Relief cream, Boiron-brand Calendula burn creams and ointments and 1st aid treatments, and pure organic ALOE gel all at once in light layers each time I applied.

    The most soothing toward these two weeks post-treatment has actually been the $6.34 Calendula burn cream, for me!

    I'm so sorry you went through this ordeal as well (the bilateral), but I'm grateful you're receiving care and wish you the smoothest possible 5-week routine. Chances are - it'll fly by. :)

  • Sunny5
    Sunny5 Member Posts: 147 Member

    Radiation is a piece of cake. No pain and takes about five minutes. Do use cream on your breast; the dr. can recommend one. It's over the counter. It just keeps your skin soft and comfortable. Ask you dr. Good luck and wishes for complete healing!

  • TinaLouise23
    TinaLouise23 Member Posts: 1 *

    I just wanted to thank you for the question and also thank everyone for the answers to this topic, as I just finished surgery and am suppose to be meeting with my oncologist soon, to get radiation details. I had invasive lobular cancer in my right breast and just finished a lumpectomy. I am very nervous to the next steps involved with radiation and appreciate any helpful tips to prevent burning or getting through it and beating cancer. I have never had cancer before, and I feel a tad overwhelmed, of making sure I do the right thing, along with asking the right questions.