Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer (cont.)
In this Article
- When is radiation therapy given in treating breast cancer?
- What happens on treatment days?
- How will the radiation therapist know I am in the correct position?
- Why are there marks on my skin?
- Will my diet make a difference on the effect of my treatment?
- What side effects will I have?
- How can I reduce skin reactions?
- Will radiation therapy make me tired?
- Who can I contact if I have personal concerns about my treatment?
- What about follow-up care?
- Find a local Oncologist in your town
- Gently cleanse the treated area using lukewarm water and a mild soap such as Ivory, Dove, Neutrogena, Basis, Castille, or Aveeno Oatmeal Soap. Do not rub your skin. Pat your skin dry with a soft towel or use a hair dryer on a cool setting.
- Do not scratch or rub the treated area.
- Do not apply any ointment, cream, lotion or powder to the treated area unless your radiation oncologist or nurse has prescribed it.
- Do not apply cosmetics, shaving lotions, perfumes, or deodorants on the treated area.
- Use only an electric razor if you need to shave within the treated area.
- Do not wear tight-fitting clothing or clothes made from harsh fabrics such as wool or corduroy -- these fabrics can irritate the skin. Instead, choose clothes made from natural fibers such as cotton.
- Do not apply medical tape or bandages to the treated area.
- Do not expose the treated area to extreme heat or cold. Avoid using an electric heating pad, hot water bottle or ice pack.
- Do not expose the treated area to direct sunlight -- sun exposure may intensify your skin reaction and lead to severe sunburn. Choose a sunblock/sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher. Protect yourself from direct sunlight even after your course of treatment has been completed.
Everyone has a different level of energy, so radiation treatment will affect each patient differently. Patients frequently experience fatigue after several weeks of treatment. For most patients, this fatigue is mild. However, a loss of energy may require other patients to change their daily routine.
If your doctor thinks it may be necessary for you to limit your activity, he or she will discuss it with you.
To minimize fatigue while you are receiving radiation treatment:
- Be sure to get enough rest.
- Eat a well-balanced, nutritious diet.
- Pace your activities and plan frequent rest periods.
Find support and advances in treatment.