Skin Care Advice for Patients Receiving Radiation Therapy CANCER SOCIETY by redheadwaitress

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									                     Skin Care Advice for Patients Receiving
                              Radiation Therapy
                            CANCER SOCIETY - BRIEF FACTS

Some people receiving radiation therapy may                     8. Avoid exposing the treated area to direct sunlight.
experience a skin reaction in the area being treated.              Cover up with a hat, clothing or stay in the shade.
Skin reactions vary from none to a sunburn-like reaction
where the skin becomes reddened, dry and sometimes              9. Avoid exposing the treated area to excessive heat or
itchy. In severe cases blistering of the skin may occur.           cold e.g. hot hair dryers, hot water bottles, ice packs,
For most people, if a skin reaction is going to occur it           wheat bags, cold winds or electric blankets.
isn’t usually apparent until after the 2nd week of
treatment and reaches its peak about 1 to 2 weeks after         10. Wear cotton next to your skin if possible. Natural
treatment is completed.                                             fibres tend to be tolerated better than synthetics.

Not everyone will experience a skin reaction as it              11. Even when you have finished your treatment, you
depends on:                                                         must take care of the skin in the treated area, as it
                                                                    will always be more sensitive to the sun. Remember
•   The area being treated                                          to Slip, Slop, Slap.
•   The dose of radiation therapy being given
•   The type of radiation therapy being given
•   The number of treatments being given                        MOUTH, THROAT AND NECK IRRADIATION

There are a number of things you can do to minimise             1. Follow General Skin care advice.
skin reactions. These are outlined below in the General
Skin Care Advice. There is also advice for people               2. Do not apply anything to the treated area unless a
having treatment to specific areas. The radiation                  radiation therapist, radiation oncologist or oncology
therapists on the treatment machines will keep a close             nurse recommends it. This includes cosmetics,
eye on the condition of your skin during your treatment            aftershave or perfume.
and can further advise you if a reaction appears. The
radiation oncologists may advise on or prescribe creams         3. If shaving, use an electric razor. Do not use shaving
to relieve symptoms of the reaction.                               cream and a blade razor.

                                                                4. If having treatment to the throat, avoid tight fitting
GENERAL SKIN CARE ADVICE                                           clothes, loosen collars and avoid scratchy or rough
                                                                   fabrics.
1. When you start your course of radiation therapy
   bathe or shower as normal using warm rather than             5. Maintain good oral hygiene. Mouthcare information
   hot water.                                                      is available from the radiation therapists.

2. Avoid prolonged soaking in the bath or swimming as
   this may increase any reaction that occurs.
                                                                BREAST IRRADIATION
3. Use soap when washing but use sparingly in the
   area being treated.                                          1. Follow General Skin care advice.

4. Do not scrub the treated area and dry it carefully by        2. Avoid using deodorant under the arm on the treated
   dabbing the area with a soft towel.                             side. Try wiping with a salty water solution instead.

5. Do not be concerned if the pen marks on your skin            3. Cotton bras without an underwire or a soft sports bra
   rub or wash off, but do not deliberately remove them.           tend to be tolerated better by the skin.

6. Do not apply anything to the treated area unless a           4. The area in the fold under the breast can become
   radiation therapist, radiation oncologist or oncology           moist. Try using a hair dryer on a cold setting (Don’t
   nurse recommends it. Some skin preparations may                 use a warm or hot setting) or a fan to dry it out every
   increase the skin reaction.                                     now and again.

7. If your skin becomes itchy try not to scratch as this        5. If your skin becomes itchy or sore, your radiation
   may increase the reaction. Tell a radiation therapist           oncologist may advise on or prescribe creams to
   or your radiation oncologist, as there are creams to            relieve these symptoms.
   relieve this.
                                                                6. If you experience a severe reaction where the skin
                                                                   may begin to blister, the Oncology nurses will use


                             Wellington Division of the Cancer Society Support & Information
                                                       31/10/2003
Fact Sheet No 25
    special dressings to soothe, protect and allow your
    skin to heal.


REMEMBER

•   Everybody reacts differently to radiation therapy
    and you may not necessarily experience a skin
    reaction at all.

•   Don’t hesitate to ask a radiation therapist or your
    radiation oncologist if you have any questions
    about your skin care.




    The Cancer Society of New Zealand is a non-profit organisation whose mission is “to minimise the impact
    of cancer on our community”. The Cancer Society’s Support & Information Service assists people with
    cancer and family members through one-to-one counselling, support, educational programmes, such as
    LIVING WITH CANCER and CANSUPPORT, telephone contact, guidance, information and referrals to
    appropriate services. The Cancer Society also offers assistance with transport to treatment for those who
    require it, CANTALK newsletter and a specialist library and information service. There is a specialist nurse
    for patient information who can guide you - email: info@cancersoc.org.nz

    Wellington Division - 52 Riddiford St, Newtown, Phone 04-389-8421 - Fax 04-389-5994
    Web Site www.cancersoc.org.nz
    - Kapiti Branch Phone 04-298-8914                   - Marlborough Centre Phone 03-579-4379
    - Nelson Centre Phone 03-546-3920                   - Wairarapa Centre Phone 06-378-8039




                            Wellington Division of the Cancer Society Support & Information
                                                      31/10/2003
Fact Sheet No 25

								
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