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How can someone lessen skin reactions from radiation therapy for breast cancer?

ANSWER

To lessen skin reactions:

  • Gently clean the treated area using lukewarm water and a mild soap. Don’t rub your skin. Pat it dry with a soft towel, or use a hair dryer on a cool setting.
  • Don’t scratch or rub the treated area.
  • Don’t apply any ointment, cream, lotion, or powder to the treated area unless your doctor or nurse has prescribed it.
  • Don’t apply cosmetics, shaving lotions, perfumes, or deodorants on the treated area.
  • Use only an electric razor if you need to shave within the area.
  • Don’t wear tight-fitting clothing or harsh fabrics like wool or corduroy. Instead, choose clothes made from natural fibers like cotton.
  • Don’t put medical tape or bandages on the treated area.
  • Avoid extreme heat or cold where you've had radiation. Don't use an electric heating pad, hot water bottle, or ice pack.
  • Avoid direct sunlight, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., even after your course of treatment has been completed. It can intensify skin reactions and lead to severe sunburn. Choose a sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher.
  • Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, and a wide-brimmed hat, too.

SOURCE:

American Cancer Society.

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin on March 21, 2019

SOURCE:

American Cancer Society.

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin on March 21, 2019

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What should someone expect with brachytherapy for breast cancer and its side effects?

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