• Radiation Tips

    Asked by AlexisJ on Thursday, August 31, 2017

    Radiation Tips

    Hello awesome people! I have finished chemotherapy (yay!) and will soon start Radiation. Does anyone have helpful tips or advice about how to combat the side effects? Thank you!

    14 Answers from the Community

    14 answers
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar

      I just had treatment 6 of 15 on the lung cancer that metastasized to my supraclavicle lymph node. I haven't had any side effects, except some fatigue. Because I am able, I usually just take a nap to combat that.

      I had read an excellent resource from Memorial Sloan Kettering about possible side effects and way to combat them (special soaps, lotions, mouthwashes, etc.) I will try to find the link for you. It was really helpful.

      My hospital provided NO tips. As it has turned out, I haven't needed them.

      over 3 years ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar

      https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/patient-education/radiation-therapy-head-and-neck%3famp - this is for radiation to the head and neck. It is the resource I read.

      https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/patient-education/radiation-therapy-breast-chest-wall%3famp - this is specifically for breast cancer. I haven't read it, but assume it is as thorough as the one for head and neck radiation.

      Good luck. I hope you have as easy a time as I have!

      over 3 years ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      Congratulations on being done with chemo. I remember that feeling! For me, radiation after having been through chemo was a breeze, the first time, that is. Radiation that I had 19 years later was much worse on me. I had radiation to the mouth, neck, throat area. It damaged my teeth, actually destroyed them to the point of having to have them surgically cut out and dentures made. I suggest ask what the most common side effects are for your type of cancer and the type of radiation you will be getting, and what to expect. Others here that have been through your type will surely have some better tips for you than me. We wish you the best in the radiation.

      over 3 years ago
    • geekling's Avatar

      Yes. Make an appointment with your dentist, address any problems, and have your teeth cleaned.

      Just as emergency backup, arrange a ride to and from treatment if you should get too tired to drive. It will all depend on the duration and intensity of your treatment.

      Ask more questions depending on what you need, once you have started.Pay attention to the radiologist and the technicians.

      No oils or lotions which contain alchohol. Read ingredients.

      Best wishes

      over 3 years ago
    • msesq's Avatar

      Eat healthy, get plenty of rest, use the cream or lotion recommended by your radiologist, wear comfortable bras and clothing. I found natural fabrics and Walmart sports bras most comfortable. Relax, you got this!

      over 3 years ago
    • ChildOfGod4570's Avatar

      I am really glad to hear you have finished chemo! :) Radiation will be a walk in the park compared to it if my and others' experiences are any indication. Be sure to rest when your body calls for it, slather on the cream your radiation doctor suggests, get someone to drive you to and from appointments, and wear comfortable clothes. If you wind up using a greasy creamlike I did, there are ways to protect your nicer garments, though in late summer/early fall it might not be as comfortable as it was for me in late fall/early winter when I had my treatments. What I did was get some old raggedy bras to wear for comfort, and then I would use a raggedy old T-shirt or night gown to protect my clothes or PJ's respectively. Another comfortable alternative to the bra is a bakini top that ties at both the neck and back. That way you can adjust it depending on if your skin is tender. I hope radiation goes well for you and that active treatment will soon be over! HUGS and God bless.

      over 3 years ago
    • barryboomer's Avatar

      I took Green Tea Extract and Curcumin and did really well.
      BUT It depends where they shoot the beam as to how bad the side effects will be.

      over 3 years ago
    • tlalex's Avatar

      I've been finished now about 2 months. Most people have addressed the common issues-using the suggested ointments, and I went heavy with lotion(VANICREAM-the moisturizing formula-found at Walgreens or online) even though I was told not to use because of all the tapes they'll put on you-just be careful when applying, no deodorant or shaving, loose clothing(light cami under loose top/no bra), good diet, lots of water, plenty of rest....oh, Luke warm bathing and you'll need to have mild soap preferably liquid/no wash rag to area. If dry mouth becomes an issue there is commercial mouthwash for that. I didn't have any blisters or even much burning over 5 was/daily treatment with 7 days of boosters ***If they dont give you a list of exercises\stretches or recommend PT ask for it! Your affected side will have lifelong issues and will need daily stretching. I can really tell when I get lax with these. They only take a few minutes-and I do 5 min of weight training for arms 3x/wk. Last thing I can think of (and I have friends whose surgeon did not tell them this and they have a great deal of breast pain months/yrs later) if you had surgery, massage affected breast (and underarm if lymph nodes removed)often (i was told 10 min daily) to keep scar tissue from adhering to walls and causing chronic pain.

      over 3 years ago
    • debco148's Avatar

      Finishing Chemo is the best thing!! Good for you! For me radiation side effects was only at the very last 4 or so visits (out of 28) I really can't say I even got fatigue, but that is common. I exercised a lot and that kept me feeling physically good. I was told to use Aquaphor only after treatment, no fancy creams, soaps etc. I used only Dove for sensitive skin liquid soap for bathing. But, that was in 2012 and there may be new things that work better. So, I'd listen to your Radiation Onc team as to what to do for skin care. But, for fatigue definitely get the sleep you need, and exercise (cardio is best for energy as it gets oxygen through the blood and into the brain). Make sure you diet is low in sugar as that also creates fatigue, so lots of greens, protein (needed to heal). Also, each of us gets different prescriptions for radiation as well, so they may want to hit the surface more or not. That will create different outcomes. I had only slight dryness and itching until the end and then I blistered and had to be treated for burns, but they knew what to do and got it under control in a few days easily. No one else I know ever got this burning, it was due to the concentration of the rads as was needed for my situation only. So, don't fret and the fatigue is nothing, a breeze after chemo.

      over 3 years ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar

      I think the radiation oncologist will give you instructions for what's best for you. I suggest you plan to go without a bra once your skin burns, because the rubbing may cause blistering. (I burned underneath the breast where your bra fits.) If you go without a bra, the weather now will make it easy to layer a jacket or vest over blouses.

      Best wishes. It'll be a "nothing burger"!

      over 3 years ago
    • Lynne-I-Am's Avatar

      Have never had radiation but had to add my congratulations to you for finishing your chemo.

      over 3 years ago
    • Ashera's Avatar

      I bought 6 XL mens white cotton t-shirts that I slept in. I used aquafor greasy cream all the time - per radiologist instructions - and a special compounded cream i ordered online. These cotton shirts - I didn't care what happened to them and they were loose and comfortable. I started burning a couple of weeks before the end - and then the last week those burns were bad and painful. The radiation nurses gave me a type of self-stick thick bandage-type dressing that they cut to put where skin met skin - like under my arm and under the crease in my breast - and that helped. I think I was truly really uncomfortable only a week or so after the radiation was over. It's all cumulative. It'll be at it's worst - towards the end and a week or so afterwards - then...it gets all better. Do NOT try to wear a bra - even if the band size is much larger than you would normally wear - you do not want it around the radiation field. Easy to layer big tshirts and flannel shirts if it's cool - or other shirts. Best of luck!

      over 3 years ago
    • mofields' Avatar

      I had 33 rounds of radiation to my left breast after mastectomy. I did not have chemo, but the radiation treatments themselves wasn't bad at all. A couple days before the first treatment they will "fit" you and mark your body (tattoos) for where the field of radiation will cover. Then you just show up at your appointed time and it doesn't take more than 15-20 minutes for the whole procedure each day. I teach and I worked all day than went to my treatment each afternoon. I did burn, and got some wonderful ointments and pads from my radiation nurses - ask them. Good luck.

      over 3 years ago
    • paintmare's Avatar

      The radiation gets ramped up the last few treatments so be sure to keep up with any lotions your doc recommends. I didn't and my skin was fried by the end. Luckily it heals vert rapidly.

      over 3 years ago

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