Things You Should Know...About Breast Treatment
Around the time that you have completed 7 – 10 radiation treatments you may experience some side effects. This is due to the radiation dose accumulating in your body causing a delayed effect. The side effects may continue during the rest of your treatment and begin to disappear 7-10 days after you have finished your treatments. The following are side effects and preventative measures that your nurse and Radiation Oncologist will cover in more detail at you consultation and regular weekly visits during your treatment cycle.
- Skin Reactions: Only the skin exposed to radiation will be affected. Keeping your skin clean with a mild soap and lukewarm water and drying with a soft towel will help. Do not scrub the skin with loofas or gritty soaps, or massage area of treatment. Shampoos approved by the Palomar Health Radiation Oncology Department are: Baby Shampoo, Aveno (Oatmeal), Aloe Vera shampoo (Trader Joe’s) for sensitive skin. Consult with the nurses before you use any lotions or ointments on this area. The radiation therapist will tell you not to apply any lotion or ointment to the treatment site before your daily treatments. Once your daily treatment is complete, you may apply lotions or ointments to the area. This is to prevent any adverse effect the radiation exposure may produce with the lotion.
- Wearing loose clothes including camisoles, boxer shorts, sweat suits or cotton clothing can help prevent chaffing .Do not use heat or cold to treat pain in your breast. You will need to avoid extreme temperatures on your breast for one month following treatment. Also, stay out of the sun unless wearing a top that covers your chest up to your neck. No V necks. Avoid shaving the armpit of the side that is being treated.
- Fatigue: During the last few weeks of treatment you may feel a decrease in energy levels. This is normal and we suggest that you listen to your body and rest when necessary. Exercise and work levels can be performed during treatment as long as you stay within your levels of comfort. It is a good idea to discuss your plans with the medical staff.
- Sexual Activity: Please discuss this with the Radiation Oncologist or
- Counseling: Our nursing staff has resources and experience in dealing with the many and varied needs that may arise during this challenging time in your life. Do not hesitate to ask questions, or ask for help. We are here for you and your family.
- Lymphedema or discomfort in breast: Let the nurse or Radiation Oncologist know. In some cases, this is normal, but may require treatment.
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