Tips for Coping with Radiation

  • No regular aluminum containing deodorants
    Your radiation oncologist probably won’t want you to use aluminum containing deodorants on the under-arm area on the side where you are receiving radiation due to a concern that the aluminum may intensify the radiation delivered to the skin. Try using ALRA deodorant, specially formulated for use during radiation treatment. You can also use regular corn starch to help you stay dry. Check with your radiation oncologist before you use any products.
  • No harsh or scented soaps at the radiation site
    I used Dove body wash for sensitive skin and found it worked well. Dr Bronner’s mild baby soap is also very gentle. Check with your radiation oncologist before you use any products.
  • No creams or lotions on the skin before radiation
    At some point the radiation with cause redness and soreness to your skin and you will want to apply a soothing moisturizer, however your radiologist will probably not want you to apply it prior to your daily session. If possible, try to get a morning appointment and then you can apply soothing lotion as soon as you are done. Try using ALRA therapy lotion with aloe vera and lanolin. Pack it in the bag you take to your appointment so that you can apply as soon as you are done. Check with your radiation oncologist before you use any products.
  • Switch to a cotton “shelf” camisole instead of bras
    It provides some support and will be more comfortable when your skin is sore. Aim for a high percentage cotton, it will be more comfortable and absorbent than synthetics.
  • Protect the radiation site from sun exposure
    Cover up skin or apply sunscreen. Check with your radiation oncologist to make sure they approve sunscreen use.
  • Fatigue
    Radiation affects everyone differently. It may affect you just like a bad sunburn or it may leave you weary to your core. Allow yourself time to recover your energy.
  • Arrange how to contact your Physician
    Agree with your radiation oncologist as to when you should call i.e. what symptoms should trigger you to call and what is their preferred method of contact, e.g. phone call to hospital switchboard or their cell phone, email etc. Find out how rapidly calls are returned i.e. within the hour, by the end of the day. You may also want to check under what circumstances they would want you to go straight to urgent care etc. If something is of concern to you, do not delay in reporting it or seeking help.

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