Help with Radiation burn

mdw77 Member Posts: 1 Member
edited September 2022 in Anal Cancer #1

Hey all. I’m new here. I’ve found a lot of helpful information but I haven’t come across what I’m looking for.

Today will be my 1/2 way point (treatment 15 of 30) and the burn I have is almost unbearable at times. And this weekend I began the dreaded diarrhea. So I’m trying to figure out the right diet to help with that, but I’m wondering what you all have found to help with the burn and itch! I have a hard time falling asleep at night due to it and have been woke up due to the itch in that region.

I have gotten some barrier wipes, have been using Vaseline, tried preparation H…anything you’ve all tried that works? I was also given an Rx (gabapentin) to take before bed and it doesn’t seem to be doing much.

Any ideas that I can try so I can get through the next 3 weeks?!?



  • feckcancer
    feckcancer Member Posts: 189 Member


    Nearly Finished. Hang in there...

    I didn't have any itching but I did burn so this is what I found helpful:

    I used an aqueous cream on my skin a few times a day for protection but be sure none is on your skin before radiation and use afterwards as long as the skin is not broken. I was prescribed, by my oncologist, solosite wound gel, duoderm wound gel, Lignocaine 2% Gel numbing gel (fantastic ). I did salt baths but make sure your skin dries afterwards. you can use a hairdryer on low and cool settings. While my skin was very sore hardly any broke open which i think was due to using these gels and creams. also wipe after a bowel motion by using sopping wet cotton wool instead of toilet paper. fill a plastic pump bottle with water and squirt it on yourself while you pee if that hurts. use the numbing gel before and after a bowel motion. i was told not to use baby wipes because even the fragrance free ones have chemicals in them that can cause an infection.

    i took loperamide 2mg capsules to help with diarrhoea. at one stage i was advised to take 2 every morning . i still take them if i need them. i have found it is best to take them straight away to get on top of diarrhoea .

    Below are the diet sheets I was given when I was having treatment and links to the gels etc are at the bottom of the page.

    I hope this is helpful for you.

    Good luck for your last 3 weeks

    Take care


  • BirdGrrl
    BirdGrrl Member Posts: 10 Member

    Hi! My hospital's radiation department gave me a cream that had calendula in it along with some kind of numbing agent. In addition, they recommended Aquaphor which I used by the bucket and both of those really helped calm the radiation burn. Just remember, don't put it on before you go in for radiation, wait until afterwards, and then use it on every part of that area after you use the toilet. Every single time. It's tedious, but it worked well for me so I hope it does for you.

  • DinainOH
    DinainOH Member Posts: 20 Member

    My doctor also gave me the calendula cream and some Aquaphor. I mostly use the calendula cream because it spreads easier and apply now after each bathroom trip. She suggested Benadryl for the itching. I've just finished my 4th week and have 2 weeks left and fear the pain getting worse. I wouldn't say it is horrible and not crying out but trying to find ways to minimize it. I'm afraid to eat or drink and having to use the bathroom now. I found the diarrhea worse to deal with so I found taking 2 Imodium pills around 6 or 7 pm helped. It then gathers everything and in 12 hours in the morning, I poop it all out and it is more solid but getting harder to deal with.

    The doctor suggested squirting water when peeing but I find it to be cold and then I can't tell if I'm peeing or not! Hard to time to have warm water in the bottle when you need it! She also suggested holding a wet washcloth against that area when peeing. It takes a little planning for this, too. I have used some heavy duty wet paper towels to pee in to to minimize dealing with soiled washcloths I then would need to wash. I can still rinse out the paper towel and throw it in the trash.

    But still looking for ideas others have used for this. I think the anal cavity is shrinking the skin along with the tumor so makes it hard to poop. I find using the Imodium to be a little easier and know I'll deal with some pain in the morning. I couldn't take running to the bathroom every time I felt I might need to go. I've been spending my life in there!

    I haven't had many other side effects other than fatigue. I can't spend too much time on the internet or even watching movies. I did a few light cleaning tasks yesterday and it helps take my mind off the itching. I've been feeling more nausea in the last week but only a twinge. I've only used my nausea meds twice so far. I figure I have them so may as well take it if I'm not feeling comfortable.

    I take sitz baths each morning and night which is supposed to help stimulate blood flow and healing. I like it because it cleans me up before I go to bed.

    If anyone has ideas on the burning while peeing and pain when pooping, I'd love to hear! They are most likely just going to happen but if anyone has tricks to help, it would be great! One thing I do while sleeping is sleep with a donut pillow I had and put it between my knees and ankles. It helps keep a little space and prevent rubbing of skin. My doctor told me to sleep in a nightgown and commando so that area has time to air out and heal. I put a bed pad on my bed so the sheets don't soil and so far so good with that but the pad is peace of mind. I found mine on Amazon and it is quilted and washable. I don't know its there when sleeping. The hospital was going to give me some but she said they make noise and not easy to sleep.

  • Overfornow
    Overfornow Member Posts: 2 Member

    been quite a few years since I visited this site, great resource for low fibre diet, towards the end of my treatment I was sticking to white bread mashed banana and stewed apple, low fibre and ioperamide. The good news is counting down the days when the end is in sight, use lignocaine gel as prescribed and hang in there. I still have a list of foods I avoid - 10 years healthy with NED, but avoid corn broccoli, seeds and seedy fruit, wishing you healing times 🙏

  • Cantu
    Cantu Member Posts: 22 Member

    Thank you for the information on foods to avoid and helping the burning from the radiation. I start my treatments in a couple of weeks and not looking forward to it at all.

  • Fengshoe
    Fengshoe Member Posts: 23 Member

    My treatment consisted of 30 radiations plus the chemo. The first half of treatment was bearable, but the end was painful. I was prescribed Riley's Butt Paste when in the hospital at the end. It provides numbing along with the other ingredients. Afterwards, I use Calmoseptine for any itching and rash to this day. Squirting with water did help when peeing during and after. Also, placing cloths soaked in Domeboro on affected skin was soothing. Maybe one of these ideas will help in addition to the other suggestions. Good luck.

  • MesquitePoet
    MesquitePoet Member Posts: 10 Member

    I got a Hello Tushy Bidet attachment for my toilet. Best investment ever! You can adjust both the angle and amount of water pressure with the basic model. The water is cool or room temperature which feels soothing. I have not needed to wipe. Only pat dry. A total godsend during this treatment.

    Good luck! Don't be afraid to use pain meds if you need them.

  • Cantu
    Cantu Member Posts: 22 Member

    Fengshoe how are u doing now since you have had all that chemo? How old are you if u do not mind me asking, I am 76 And not sure if I want to go through all the chemotherapy and radiation ,I am pretty healthy now and I really don’t think I would like to deal with the side effects, quality for me not quantity. I also have had 2 knee replacement cancer at 15, surgery at 17, broken pelvic and a few more things so I think I would look into other treatments I guess I am scared to have that poison put into my body, I do not take any medication for my age I am pretty healthy and I guess I want to keep it that way.

  • MesquitePoet
    MesquitePoet Member Posts: 10 Member
    edited September 2022 #11

    I'm 64 and was in pretty good health prior to treatment. Normal weight, active lifestyle. I only took a low dose statin for high cholesterol unresponsive to lifestyle modifications and I use topical estrogen cream. I was successfully treated for stage 3 colon cancer in 2011. I have arthritis in my hands/wrist.

    I just finished treatment on Tuesday so it's too early to know much of anything yet, but I will say it goes by quickly compared to being treated for colon cancer.

    My concerns were related to radiation, not the chemo. The radiation is what’s linked to the long-term side effects and quality of life issues I was most concerned about.

    There aren't other treatments that are effective, so I didn't consider not doing the treatment, as depressing as facing cancer treatment again was. I'm a retired nurse-midwife and favor the big guns of Western medicine for things like cancer. Alternative therapies can be a nice way to thrive during survivorship, but they won't cure cancer.

    I'm sorry you're struggling. I wish there was an easier way too. 🤗

  • Fengshoe
    Fengshoe Member Posts: 23 Member


    So, I'm 64 now. Very healthy before and have no medical issues now. I only take daily vitamins. The only lingering issue for me is I have a slight urinary incontinence. I was stage 3c and had regional spread to lymph nodes. My bladder was in the radiation field unfortunately. I completed treatment in January of 2017. It took some time to get to normal. A couple of years to get my bowel movements and digestion issues solved. Big deal to also do prevention for vaginal stenosis. Pelvic floor therapy and stretching are essential, at least for me. You know what, there are still issues if I eat too much of certain foods, like fried foods, but I shouldn't eat that anyway. If it weren't for the small bit of incontinence, I really feel great and as healthy as before. The radiation side effects present the greatest challenge. I think there are immunotherapies now which might offer an alternative that wasn't as available a few years ago. Let me know if I can answer any of your questions.

  • Cantu
    Cantu Member Posts: 22 Member

    Thank you for the information, I still have a couple of meetings before I make my final decision, I hope you recover quickly. Will let you know what I decide later.