What Do You Wear While Having Radiation Therapy
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Why You Should Not Use Aloe Vera During Radiation Therapy
Concisely, we can say this:
There is scientific evidence backing up claims that aloe vera is not recommended for patients undergoing radiation therapy.
In fact, in some instances, aloe vera may actually have an adverse effect on treatment. While there is no substantial scientific data backing up the positives of using aloe vera as an alternative form of treatment post-radiation, there is plenty of data supporting the opposite:
- Aloe vera provided no benefit in multiple studies and systematic reviews. Quasi-experimental study showed that aloe vera based gel was not effective in preventing effects on the skin and facilitating patient comfort among 45 pediatric patients receiving radiation therapy
- Two randomized trials did not show a benefit of aloe vera gel as it relates to reducing the incidence of radiation therapy-induced skin toxicity
- Systematic reviews have not provided evidence in support of the use of aloe vera for the purpose of treating the effects of radiation therapy ;;;;
- In one analysis, aloe vera was actually associated with higher toxicity ;;
About External Beam Radiation Therapy
With external beam radiation therapy, a treatment machine will aim a beam of radiation directly to the tumor from outside your body. The radiation will pass through your body and destroy the cancer cells in its path. You wont see or feel it.
You may be having external beam radiation therapy to 1 or more of the following areas:
- Your breast
- The lymph nodes near your collarbone
- The lymph nodes under your arm
- The lymph nodes near your sternum
Your radiation oncologist and nurse will talk with you about your treatment plan.
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Cancer Doctors Usually Treat Cancer With Radiation Therapy Surgery Or Medications Including Chemotherapy Hormonal Therapy And/or Biologic Therapy Either Alone Or In Combination
If your cancer can be treated with radiation, you will be referred to a radiation oncologist a doctor who specializes in treating patients with radiation therapy. Your radiation oncologist will work with your primary doctor and other cancer specialists, such as surgeons and medical oncologists, to oversee your care. He or she will discuss the details of your cancer with you, the role of radiation therapy in your overall treatment plan and what to expect from your treatment.
What Can I Expect From My Treatment
When you arrive, please check in at the desk. Each treatment should only last 10 to 15 minutes. You can change your clothes in the dressing room and then wait in the lounge to be called.
During each treatment session, you will lay on a table while the technician uses the marks on your skin to locate and treat the field. It is important to be still while getting the radiation, although you should continue to breathe normally.
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Radiation For Breast Cancer
Radiation therapy is treatment with high-energy rays that destroy cancer cells. Some women with breast cancer will need radiation, in addition to other treatments. Radiation therapy is used in several situations:
- After breast-conserving surgery , to help lower the chance that the cancer will come back in the same breast or nearby lymph nodes.
- After a mastectomy, especially if the cancer was larger than 5 cm , if cancer is found in many lymph nodes, or if certain surgical margins have cancer such as the skin or muscle.
- If cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the bones or brain.
The main types of radiation therapy that can be used to treat breast cancer are external beam radiation therapy and brachytherapy.
How Often Will I Go For Treatment
Treatment is most often given once a day, 5 days a week, for 3-6 weeks.
The schedule of radiation sessions is designed to treat your breast cancer and varies from person to person.
Many women now get a shortened course of radiation therapy . This is called hypofractionated whole-breast irradiation.
Its like standard whole-breast radiation therapy except it uses a slightly higher dose of radiation per session . This reduces the number of treatment sessions, making the overall course shorter.
For most women with early breast cancer, hypofractionated whole-breast irradiation is as effective as standard whole-breast radiation therapy .
After radiation therapy to the whole breast, you may have more radiation to the part of the breast that had the tumor.
This boost increases the amount of radiation given to the area at highest risk for breast cancer recurrence.
Your boost radiation session is similar to a regular session.;
Radiation therapy often delivers radiation to the whole breast. Partial breast irradiation delivers radiation only to the area around the tumor bed .
Its typically done in a shortened course over only 5-10 days. This reduces the number of treatment sessions. It can also be done over 3-4 weeks, similar to whole breast radiation therapy, or may be done at the same time as surgery.
Partial breast irradiation is an appropriate treatment for select people with early-stage breast cancer .
Methods of partial breast irradiation include:
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What Is Radiation Therapy And How Does It Work
Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. It affects cells only in the part of the body that is treated with the radiation. Breast cancer radiation therapy may be used to destroy any remaining mutated cells that remain in the breast or armpit area after;surgery.
Note:;There are special situations in which radiation is used for women with metastatic breast cancer experiencing painful bone metastasis. This section however focused on the use of radiation for adjuvant therapy .
Who should expect to be prescribed radiation therapy and what is involved?Some people with Stage 0 and most people with;Stage 1;invasive cancer and higher, who have had a;lumpectomy, can expect radiation therapy to be a part of their treatment regimen.
Breast Discomfort Or Swelling
You may have some tenderness in your breast on your affected side, especially at your nipple. You may also develop extra fluid in your breast that may cause sharp, stabbing sensations. Your breast or chest may feel heavy or swollen. Your shoulder on your affected side may also feel stiff.
These sensations can start within the first few days of your radiation therapy. They can go on for many months after you finish radiation therapy. Below are suggestions to help you reduce this discomfort.
- If you wear bras, you may want to choose soft, loose bras without an underwire. Sports bras or cotton bras are good choices. You may even find it more comfortable to not wear a bra at all.
- Take pain medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as needed. Some examples of NSAIDs are ibuprofen and naproxen . If you cant take an NSAID, you can take acetaminophen instead.
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Pain In The Breast Or Chest Area
You may have aches, twinges or sharp pains in the breast or chest area.;
Although these are usually mild, they can continue for months or even years, but they usually become milder and less frequent over time.;
You may also have stiffness and discomfort around the shoulder and breast or chest area during and after treatment.;
Continuing to do arm and shoulder exercises during radiotherapy and for several months afterwards may help minimise or prevent stiffness or discomfort.;
I Guess Its Braless Then
As usual ladies thanks for your advice. I kept wondering what you all were wearing under those soft cotton tshirts that were recommended and now I know it was ‘nothing’! I will continue to wear the soft non underwire bras I bought until I find them too uncomfortable, then I will switch to ‘whatever’ works. I do have a lot of comfortable cardigans that I can use to ‘hide’ the floppiness. And who knows maybe the lotions they have me applying 3xs per day will help enough that I’ll be ok. We’ll see. It’s always something. Thanks again for all your help.
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What Should I Expect On My First Visit
When radiation therapy might be of help, a family doctor, surgeon or medical oncologist will refer patients to a radiation oncologist.
The doctor will first review your medical records and X-rays. A physical exam will be done.
The doctors will then talk to you about his/her findings and decide how you should be treated. If radiation will help you, the staff will schedule the needed studies to develop a treatment plan. This is sometimes referred to as simulation.
During simulation, the therapist takes X-rays of the part of your body to be treated to help decide how the radiation will be given. Using the X-ray as a guide to the treatment site, the therapist uses a marker to outline the treatment area on your skin. This area is often called a treatment port or treatment field. These marks are very important. They act as a map of the treatment area and the therapist uses them each day to guide your treatment. Sometimes after a few treatments, tiny permanent dots can be used to replace the painted marks on your skin.
Where Do I Start
You first will meet with a radiation oncologist to decide if radiation therapy is a recommended treatment option for your particular situation. If you and your doctors decide to proceed, then you will have an extended consultation in which you discuss the details of your treatment. This includes the exact area to treat, the amount of radiation you will receive, the length of treatment time and potential treatment side effects. The radiation oncologist will also answer any questions you may have. These issues vary for each person, so it is important to make an individual treatment plan.
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During Your Radiation Therapy
On the day of your first radiation treatment, youll start putting triamcinolone 0.1% ointment on your skin in the treatment area. This is a prescription ointment that will help protect your skin. Youll use it every day, once in the morning and once in the evening. This includes the days you dont have treatment. Your radiation nurse will give you more information about it before your first treatment.
Your radiation oncologist may also recommend using Mepitel® Film to protect your skin in the treatment area. If they do, put it on your skin in the treatment area before your first treatment. Keep it on until the edges start to peel up.
Youll stay in one position for about 10 to 20 minutes during each of your radiation treatments, depending on your treatment plan. If you think youll be uncomfortable lying still, you can take acetaminophen or your usual pain medication 1 hour before your appointments.
Does Everybody With Breast Cancer Have Radiotherapy
Not all women with breast cancer will be recommended to have radiotherapy. It is usually recommended, however, for women who have breast-conserving surgery . Radiotherapy is sometimes used following a mastectomy to target any cancer cells that may remain in the chest wall. If you are having chemotherapy as well as radiotherapy, you will usually have your chemotherapy treatment first.
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Radiation Therapy For Breast Cancer
The timing and purpose of radiation can vary depending on whether you have a lumpectomy or mastectomy.
Radiation therapy after a lumpectomy usually begins three to four weeks after surgery, and is used to eliminate any remaining cancer cells in the breast or armpit area.
Radiation therapy is done less often after a mastectomy, but may be done if positive lymph nodes are found during surgery or other reasons. Unlike radiation after a lumpectomy, radiation after a mastectomy is usually done after chemotherapy has been completed, and is often given several months after the mastectomy surgery..
There are two primary types of radiation used in treating breast cancer. They are:
- External Beam Radiation: a traditional approach to delivering radiation. Treatment usually takes several weeks with a Monday through Friday schedule. In certain instances, a shorter treatment regimen, called accelerated radiation, is used, and involves the delivery of a higher dose of radiation over three or four weeks. Daily treatment with external beam radiation consists of set up time and positioning activities followed by receiving radiation; a process that only takes a few minutes. Treatment is painless, but fatigue tends to worsen as time goes on.
- Internal Breast Cancer Radiation: Brachytherapy or internal radiation is a newer treatment that injects radioactive treatments only in the area that was affected by the breast cancer.
There are several considerations in planning ahead for these treatments.
Being Careful When Showering Or Bathing
A person should use warm rather than hot water, and avoid letting the spray from the showerhead directly hit the treatment area.
The National Cancer Institute notes that a person can shower daily. However, if they prefer bathing, they should do this every other day and avoid soaking for long periods of time.
They should avoid strong or fragranced soaps, and opt for gentle, fragrance-free, moisturizing soaps specifically for sensitive skin.
People should cleanse gently, and avoid scrubbing with loofahs or wash cloths, then, when done, use a soft towel to pat themselves dry..
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Use The Weekends To Recuperate Not Catch Up
Many people try to delegate to the weekends what doesn’t get done during the week, but this can lead to exhaustion. Make your number one weekend priority be to rest and heal, rather than trying to complete your to-do list.
A Word From Verywell
Taking the time to prepare not only physically but mentally for radiation can pay off when the fatigue hits full force. While the treatments may seem to go on forever, in reality it is just a short hiatus from life. Let yourself rest and pamper yourself as you would a good friend.
Are There Any Side Effects
Radiation therapy is usually well tolerated and many patients are able to continue their normal routines. However, some patients may eventually develop painful side effects. Be sure to talk to a member of your radiation oncology treatment team about any problems or discomfort you may have. Many of the side effects of radiation therapy are only in the area being treated. For example, a breast cancer patient may notice skin irritation, like a mild to moderate sunburn, while a patient with cancer in the mouth may have soreness when swallowing. Some patients who are having their midsection treated may report feeling sick to their stomach. These side effects are usually temporary and can be treated by your doctor or other members of the treatment team.
Side effects usually begin by the second or third week of treatment, and they may last for several weeks after the final radiation treatment. In rare instances, serious side effects develop after radiation therapy is finished. Your radiation oncologist and radiation oncology nurse are the best people to advise you about the side effects you may experience. Talk with them about any side effects you are having. They can give you information about how to manage them and may prescribe medicines or changes in your eating habits to help relieve your discomfort.
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The Problem Here Is The
The problem here is the attitude of the RO. After she evaluated me she sent me to the PS to get the implant. I did. But I told the PS to stop the final phase of reconstruction to avoid damage on the implant. I requested an appointment with the RO because I will be leaving the center soon. I want to change the place because I cannot afford it. Tomorrow I will be there to see other options . Anyway I don’t think I will die soon if I skip one more month of rad.
Going Through Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy can harm normal tissue, so its carefully planned and precisely delivered. This helps ensure the radiation kills as many cancer cells as possible while doing as little injury as possible to other parts of your body.
Radiation therapy is planned specifically for your breast cancer, the shape of your body and your internal anatomy. This is why sessions cant be split between different treatment centers.
Your treatment plan is based on:
- The tumor size, type and location
- The number of lymph nodes with cancer
- The type of breast surgery you had
- The shape of your breast or chest wall, and the shape and location of nearby organs
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The Radiation Side Effect You Should Know About
A lot of the focus on radiation therapy is what is does to your skin, and thats fair enough. But you also should talk to your radiation oncologist and radiation therapist about the possibility of lymphedema or swelling in the chest area as a side effect. It was only after receiving physical therapy, post-radiation, that my physical therapist noticed lymphedema, or the buildup of fluid, in my right breast. I honestly just thought it was swelling that would eventually subside. Id heard about getting lymphedema in my arm, but it never occurred to me that it could happen in my breast.
My physical therapist showed me different self-massages to help move fluid away from the swollen area and get the lymphatic system moving again. She also recommended this WearEase Swell Spot to wear to take the pressure off the swollen breast area. I have been wearing it for one month now and Ive seen a decrease in the swollen chest area of three centimeters .
My biggest takeaway? Please talk to your radiation oncologist about your risk of lymphedema, especially in the breasts. And if you can see a certified lymphedema specialist prior to surgery, even better. The specialist will take measurements of your upper and lower arm width, as well as the dimensions of your breasts, rib cage, and trunk area. That way, youll be able to keep tabs on whether there is any sort of swelling post-surgery or post-radiation, and if so, you can act quickly to correct any issues.