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Prostate Cancer: Radiation Therapy

How Can I Reduce Skin Reactions?

  • Gently cleanse the treated area using lukewarm water and a mild soap such as Ivory, Dove, Neutrogena, Basis, Castile, or Aveeno Oatmeal Soap. Do not rub. Pat your skin dry with a soft towel or use a hair dryer on a cool setting.
  • Try not to 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 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, as sun exposure may intensify your skin reaction and lead to severe sunburn. Choose a sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher. Protect the treated area from direct sunlight even after your course of treatment is over.

Will Radiation Therapy Make Me Tired?

Everyone has his or her own energy level, so radiation treatment will affect each person differently. Patients often feel fatigue after several weeks of treatment. For most patients, this fatigue is mild. However, a loss of energy may require some patients to change their daily routine.

If your doctor thinks you should 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 well-balanced, nutritious meals.
  • Pace your activities and plan frequent rest periods.

What is 3-D Conformal Radiation Therapy?

3-D conformal radiation therapy uses CT-based treatment (CT is short for computed tomography, which uses X-rays to produce detailed pictures inside the body) combined with three-dimensional images of a prostate tumor.

Radiation is aimed at the prostate gland from numerous directions, thus minimizing the damage to normal tissue. This technique allows for precise delivery of radiation doses. So far, it has worked well for localized tumors, such as prostate cancer limited to the prostate gland.

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