• Anyone else have a wet towel placed on them during radiation? Nobody warned me about this.

    Asked by gwendolyn on Monday, January 7, 2013

    Anyone else have a wet towel placed on them during radiation? Nobody warned me about this.

    The radiation techs said it was to intensify the radiation at the skin level, and that they will be doing it to me three times a week. I'm going to ask my radiation oncologist some Qs tomorrow when I see her. I was just wondering how common it was. Nothing I read prepared me for this.

    9 Answers from the Community

    9 answers
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      In my case it was actually a large size ice pack. It was for the same reason as you indicate.

      over 4 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar

      I didn't have anything placed on me....in fact the gown I wore from the dressing room to the radiation room was taken off so do the rads....I had rads in 3 different fields.....but its been 6 years....

      over 4 years ago
    • DorothyV's Avatar

      Yes, it was called a bolus (spelling?). It helps direct the radiation to a specific area. They used it every day except for the last 5 or 7 treatments. (Can't remember exactly) It was cold, but didn't hurt or anything. I think it was because I had no breast tissue and had an expander.

      over 4 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      Ah, yes, bolus. Couldn't remember what it was called. Chemo brain kicked in. Thanks Dorothy. Mine wasn't literally a ice pack but more like a chilled gel pack.

      Here is a bit of a discription and purpose of using a bolus in radiation. According to wikipedia, it is a fairly common procedure.


      over 4 years ago
    • sewfun928's Avatar

      I had a warm wet towel placed on me for all of my treatments. some days the water did not warm up and it was a little chilly. Hang in there.

      over 4 years ago
    • gwendolyn's Avatar

      Interesting. This is good information to help me start the discussion with the doctor.

      I might add that at least my wet towel is warm, not cold, at the beginning anyway. It's not unpleasant. It just seems hokey. I feel better already knowing others had something similar.

      over 4 years ago
    • debco148's Avatar

      I had a white pac that was room temp.. they never told me the name of it. It was like a white plastic, square, with little pellets of something in it. It is to focus the rays, especially if there was any lymph involvement. It did cause my skin to burn more than some of the ladies I met when I got treatments. The burns come out at the very end though.. and although bad.. they healed within a week. I, too, hadn't heard of this. Another thing that confused me was that some days I was in and out in 15mins and other days they said they had to take pictures. I asked the doc and it is because they need to make sure they are getting the chest wall, nodes, etc accurately. I found it alarming thinking they saw something else, but this was not so, it was just used to line things up properly based on my pathology reports from the original mastectomy surgery.

      over 4 years ago
    • dealite2007's Avatar

      I have a bolus placed on the incision area where the tumor was removed. Because it was right on the rib and sternum intersection, no fat and bony area--I needed more skin protection. The Bolus is the ideal choice for applications above 1MV where additional tissue-equivalent thickness is required.

      over 4 years ago
    • Irishgirl's Avatar

      The bolus's function is to deliver more radiation to the skin. It keeps the radiation from penetration to deeply into the body. I have just started back up with my treatments minus the bolus because it caused such a severe burn. I have 14 treatment left out of a total of 38. I have had to miss my treatments for 10 days due to the damage the bolus caused me. The skin disintegrated, leaving a watery fluid seeping out of my breast tissue. Raw tissue exposed for a week before it started healing over. Had to put Silvidine on the area for 4 hrs. twice a day, alternating with Miaderm for 4 hours in between. Wash with a peroxide/water mixture between dressing changes. It was extremely painful. The long break in treatments because of the bolus will compromise the effectiveness of the radiation. It was one of the boluses that looked like a gel pack that was about 12" long and 10" wide. They laid it over my breast each time they did a treatment. This was the second time it caused an open wound. I was just healing up from the first one (under the breast), when the second one started (outside edge of the breast over to underneath the arm.

      over 4 years ago

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