I am getting ready to start whole breast radiation therapy next week and I wanted to know if there are any tricks of the trade to prevent some of the dry, itchy, redness side effects. They told me they would give me one RX but didn't sound like I should get my hopes up on it helping much. Also, they told me I can't wear deodorant under the arm they are treating, is there some special deodorant I can buy or something else I can use that they aren't aware of? I play sports and I can't imagine not using something or my teammates might start wondering about me. I also read you can't shave the effected armpit, is that really going to make a large difference, or can I just do it once a week or something less. I know for 6 1/2 weeks it shouldn't be that big of a deal but if you know of anything to ease these things please advise.
Dear under forty pam: There is wide variability in terms of how any individual's skin will respond to radiation therapy. Breast skin tends to be a bit more sensitive because it has not had previous sun exposure. At our facility, we recommend a prescription cream be applied before the radiation starts and 2 times per day, thereafter. We suggest that our patients shave their axilla the day before radiation and not to shave again. Depending on the radiation fields, it is quite likely that the hair will not grow back during therapy. Regarding deodorants, we allow our patients to use products as long as they contain no aluminum. Some product names are "kiss my face" and "alura" which can be found in health food stores. These are suggestions that we give our patients at our facility. It is vital that you check with your physician at your facility to confirm that these suggestions are appropriate for your treatment plan.
I made out very well and have had compliments from the doctors as to the condition of my skin after completion of radiation, but everyone is different. I was told to use Ivory soap when bathing or showering and pure aloe gel or cream. Good luck. After chemo, radiation was a breeze!!
I don't always agree with them and I'm willing to say so when I don't... but it is a wonderful service and it is free, and knowing that they are highly qualified and pretty careful with their answers is really precious to me.
Have you gals visited bcsupport.org? Once you "register" (it's free) you can get on to their Chemo/Treatments board. There you will find women who are going through treatment (radiation included), or went through it all already. What a godsend the site has been to me. You can post a question, and believe me, someone has been there, done that, and can provide you with tons of tips. A lot has been posted on radiation. Just scroll down the site. I just began on Tuesday my first A/C chemo treatment. After 4 rounds, it will be radiation for me. I hope to be finished by my birthday, December 14th. What a hell of a celebration I am going to have! Take care, keep posting and good luck. We will all survive!
When I was undergoing radiation, they told me that blonds/light hair seem to have more problems with radiation burn. I never had to use cream and never had any burn. I had to kind of laugh though when I read the medical advice posted. I finished radiation in March and I STILL don't have to shave under that arm. I have some friends who don't have to shave under the breast treatment side and it has been years. That doesn't bother me though. I do have a retracted nipple because of the radiation but I can live with that.
I am a light skin, blonde haired gal and I burn to a crisp in the sun until I get a base tan which is why I am worried I will do the same with radiation. How does radiation cause something to happen to your nipple??? Never heard of that yet.
I am not sure I can explain about the nipple but it sure happened to me. Not sure if it was maybe where they had to give me the treatments that caused it. Just makes the "perky" boob take on a different look.
Just be sure to ask about cream, they usually have some they will give you, and use it. My skin never got red. I have always tanned easily. They will keep a close eye on your skin especially at the beginning. My skin felt like leather by the time I was through - then I started using some cream. Good luck!!
I went into a chat room last night on the site, I felt kinda bad moaning about being nervous about radiation, everyone else was talking about losing hair from chemo. I am thankful I don't have that route to take. It cheered me up and bummed me out all at the same time.
I had 35 treatments of radiation and played softball too, only one team though. My treatments were M-F and every Saturday morning I shaved my armpit even though I was advised not to. I also used deodorant that was made from all natural ingredients, but always washed it off before going for treatment.
My radiologist suggested cocoa butter and I used it and didn't have any problems.
I had a real easy time with my radiation, but I tan real easily, although my breasts had never seen sun.
Thanks for your input, I hope things go as well as you described. I wonder if anyone has ever gone to a tanning bed place a few times before radiation and if that helped. Just about too late (I start in 3 days) for it but it was a thought I had.
Thanks for your input. I bought deodorant and lotion online that is made for radiation patients, Alra. That should arrive soon. I converted to a Dove Deep Moisterizing Liquid Shower Soap. And I plan to shave the heck out of my armpit tomorrow morning and hope it lasts awhile. I always assume the worst and prepare for it and hope I am wrong. That way my expectations aren't too high. My dry run is tomorrow, maybe the real thing if I can talk them in to just going ahead and pressing the button while I am there. One less trip is one less trip. I don't understand the need for a dry run anyway, set it up, check it, get the doc to approve, double check it, then hit it already.
Let me first say this is only my experience, so... I'm in radiation treatment week 5 of 7. I developed a light "burn" by week 3, which developed into an annoying itch, particularly around the nipple/areola, early in week 4. Up to that point I had been using pure aloe vera gel ad lib, as recommended by my doc, after which it was suggested I try an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream. By the end of week 4 the itching had become painful and I had a significant inflammatory response. At this point the doc prescribed a corticosteroid cream, fluocinonide, which has been of tremendous help in reducing both the inflammation and itching! As for the deodorant - I was told no anti-perspirant, but that deodorant was fine. What you're trying to avoid is the aluminum found in the anti-perspirant. Metals may/or do interact with the radiation, so you want to avoid them in whatever you put on your skin. I use Tom's of Maine, works fine, not an anti-perspirant, but you make do with what needs must. It was also recommended I avoid soaps/creams with fragrances or anything else that might become a source of skin irritation. Just think of what you WOULD NOT want to put on a sunburn. As for shaving... I wax my underarm hair, had it done before treatment started, and while I've been receiving whole breast/armpit treatment no hair has grown back, so voila! My respone has been long winded, but I hope it helps.
Hi again! As I understand the simulation run, it is to be sure that the specks ordered up by the physicist, based on your CT, are accurate; one more opportunity to fine tune dose delivery. No need to zap any more of the chest wall and underlying structures than you have to! The goal is to irradiate the breast/any nodes as applicable, and a minimal amount of non-breast tissue. Sounds like you've got it under wraps. Be kind to yourself, eat well, get a balance of sensible exercise and rest, if you can! And as treatment progresses, if you find yourself in need of a nap, cut yourself some slack, curl up with a good book and a mug of cocoa, or whatever helps you to rejuvenate. And GOOD LUCK!
Thanks, Day 2 of 33 is over. So far Camp Nukemboobie is ok, doubt side effects will kick for a little while yet. I was really tired after Day 1 but I think I can't blame camp, have to blame getting up 1 hour earlier to get to camp before work rather than the actual effects of rads.
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