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Let's Talk Radiation

Re: Let's Talk Radiation

Posted by Sedna on Mar 27, 2019 2:09 pm

Hi Kims,
I haven't experienced any vomiting since my radiation treatments have been done.  Only during.  
Hopefully, this is a short term thing for you.

Wishing you and everyone well.........and remember to always consult with your medical team, mine was exceptional.

Re: Let's Talk Radiation

Posted by DimplesIDC on Apr 16, 2019 5:31 pm

I will be starting radiation end of April. They will be radiating the left breast right back to the chest wall. I’m concerned for any long term effects on my heart. Has anyone has this type of radiation?

Kimberly‍ I'm currently in research-mode on this too.  I learned today that I will be having radiation and the surgeon did say there are risks to both lung and heart given the location.  She indicated they are rare, and longer-term - but worth some research.  I'm not scheduled for my lumpectomy until May 2nd, so still have an opportunity to change to a mastectomy if I feel uneasy about the impact of radiation.  

I'm new to the boards, so if you get some interesting info can you tag me?
Noticed a dimple on self-exam - March 8/2019 Mammogram & Ultrasound - March 12/2019 Core Needle Biopsy - April 2/2019 Diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma - April 11/2019

Re: Let's Talk Radiation

Posted by ashcon on Apr 17, 2019 2:48 pm

Hi Kimberly‍ and DimplesIDC‍ ,

Quite a few ladies on this site have had radiation on left side of chest and I believe there is a breathing technique used during radiation treatment to "push" the heart away from the line of fire  for lack of a better way of putting it. 
Kims1961‍ used this technique, I believe. 

DimplesIDC‍ .. Wishing you all the best in your decision, and in your surgery on May 2nd!

Re: Let's Talk Radiation

Posted by Essjay on Apr 18, 2019 8:55 am

Kimberly‍  DimplesIDC‍  I had my radiation prep yesterday.

They coached me through deep breathing - had to hold my breath for 20 seconds, which I passed ok.

And they did ct scans with normal breathing and deep breathing. The deep breathing lifted my breast and lung away from my heart sufficiently, so the plan is that we’ll go with that when my rad sessions start May 7th.

This is very reassuring for me, because at 50 I really want to maintain a healthy heart - I have a dodgy heart valve and don’t want any more damage.

They have other techniques to shield the heart if the deep breathing doesn’t work.

And while it’s called deep breathing, it wasn’t very ‘deep’!

Re: Let's Talk Radiation

Posted by Kims1961 on Apr 18, 2019 9:21 am


Sorry for for the delay and thx ashcon‍ 

I had radiation last July on my left side...as I had already had bilateral mastectomy but margins weren’t clear. 

My RO suggested I do radiation using the “ABC”  apparatus .  ABC stands for Alternate Breathing Coordinator...in simple terms it is like a snorkel where you hold your breath while they radiate the area. This method tries to minimize any possible damage to the heart. Not all centres offer this but definitely worth asking if this method would be helpful in your situation    Feel free to ask me any questions about it 

take care Kim

Re: Let's Talk Radiation

Posted by Essjay on May 7, 2019 6:35 pm

First radiation session today.

The deep breathing was fine - seemed deeper than at the planning session, but for shorter time.

However, I need to try a different position with my arms tomorrow. I have neuropathy and I was in pain for the whole session, and had to really focus on not moving. Luckily there was a really interesting maple leaf pattern on the ceiling that I could study the whole time! My hands were completely numb by the time I could move.

One down, 19 to go!

Re: Let's Talk Radiation

Posted by Lianne_adminCCS on May 7, 2019 6:44 pm

Here's to the first rad under your belt. Well done. As to your arms, do let the techs know the issues you are having.I am assuming it was back over your head or behind your head which is fairly standard. If you talk to them there may be things they can do, such as let you put them down for a rest at certain points.

Good luck with tomorrow!


Re: Let's Talk Radiation

Posted by Kims1961 on May 8, 2019 10:58 am

Essjay‍  YAY!!  Getting the first one under your belt is such an accomplishment.  For me - I started to get a feel for the routine with radiation - where bathrooms are, where to park the car, where to get something to drink....  Lianne_adminCCS‍ gave you great advice about letting the techs know of your discomfort with your arms.  Once during radiation I had an ITCH on my nose that drove me crazy - the techs are so clear about not wanting us to move, one came in and gave my nose a little scratch...ha ha...  That's how awesome they can be.

During my treatment they have music on - actually old classic rock - sounds from my youth - so I focused on that.  As the techs were young ( they keep getting younger!! ha ha) I mentioned how impressed I was that they were listening to classic rock - the one tech said it reminds him of his dad and grandfather...ha ha...that really aged me.

I had a few times that I didn't take a deep enough breath - I learned to go slow and easy - rather than a big gulp.  The machine seemed to click in better that way.  

Often during tests I feel they should be less directions on the walls and more on the ceilings...😀

Thanks for letting us know how it went .  Good luck today.  Kim

Re: Let's Talk Radiation

Posted by Bolt on May 8, 2019 9:53 pm

I start my first radiation tomorrow. Just wondering what brand cream/ lotion did people really like to keep skin moist during treatment.  I know the should be water as first ingredient and free of fragrance, and lanolin. Any other recommendations? Just want to be ready. Thanks 

Re: Let's Talk Radiation

Posted by Essjay on May 9, 2019 9:19 am

Bolt‍ I am using CeraVe cream. I’m on day 3 radiation - I started applying the cream the day before I started.

Good luck with the radiation - you’ll find it’s a well oiled machine!

Re: Let's Talk Radiation

Posted by Bolt on May 9, 2019 10:06 am

Essjay‍ Thank you. I started applying lubriderm since my lumpectomy 6 weeks ago. I will look at your recommendation as well. Good luck with your treatments as well. 

Re: Let's Talk Radiation

Posted by Lacey_adminCCS on May 9, 2019 10:40 am

Bolt‍ - Wishing you well today! Let us know how it goes.

Thinking of you,


Re: Let's Talk Radiation

Posted by Runner Girl on May 9, 2019 1:14 pm

Hi Bolt‍  and Essjay‍ 

For my radiation the tech recommended Glaxal Base Cream, which I used and continue to use as I bought way too much of it.  They said to use a cream over a lotion as it's "heavier".  When my skin got itchy the radiation oncologist recommended hydrocortisone 1% cream, but the tech's warned that it can cause thinning of the skin so to use it sparingly.

Good luck to both of you with your radiation treatment.

Runner Girl - Gayle

Re: Let's Talk Radiation

Posted by Bolt on May 9, 2019 1:49 pm

Runner Girl‍ And Essjay‍ Treatment one is done. 20 more to go. The radiation tech recommended Glaxal Base Cream or Lubriderm. I have both so Hopefully slathering those on will help reduce the effects. 

Thanks for your recommendations as well. 

Re: Let's Talk Radiation

Posted by MLYuen on May 10, 2019 12:35 am

Bolt‍ , so happy that you got the first one out of the way, keep counting on and you'll be done faster than you thought!  I finished my 16 rounds of radiation program back on March 8 2019.  Like many shared here, I felt 'normal' and did not feel much after my 1st 5 sessions or so, I have been working all along my entire rad program (my company has extended med coverage which I approved for, and it ended up covered all the afternoon hours daily during my 3.5 weeks of radiation treatment when I was absence from work).  I managed to work all the morning hours and just had to excuse myself after lunch hour to attend to my daily rad sessions.  This schedule worked out really well.

I feel the on start of fatigue after the 1st week, but still was not too bad. A full night sleep of 9 hours would help me to get through my 2nd week of rads.  I applied calendula nature herbal creams + lubriderm lotion (fragrance free version).  The herbal cream I applied a few days before my rad + mixed it with all natural aloe vera gel to prep my breast, ready for my 3.5 weeks of rad.  During the rad sessions, I applied the herbal cream + aloe vera once daily (day & night - early morning hours & at bed time, but NOT an hour prior to rad as I didn't want any creams to be there during the rad session).  I continued with this regime for the entire program, and good to report that at the end of the program, I had no peeling, burning, scaring, only mild redness & minimal itching & very mild swelling from the rads.  My skin slowly recovered over the weeks post treatment, upon the f/u appt with my radiology doctor at 6 weeks post-treatment, she was very pleased with my skin condition.  My skin is now almost all recovered (9 weeks post treatment). 

The fatigue hit me the most during the last few sessions & the 2 weeks right after my last treatment.  I took a 2-week off work for a time off so to rest completely after the program. I slowly regained my energy over the rest of the following weeks, I feel each week was better than the last. As of now, I am almost back to 100% pre-rad energy level, I am glad it is almost Summer & I can go outdoor with more energy to enjoy the warmer weather.  

Bolt‍ , be positive and hopeful and listen to your body.  Take really good care of yourself, drink lots of fluid (I love herbal teas), eat a healthy diet, sleep well & exercises - most of all, have an optimist mindset really helps!  I am sure you will get through all your rad sessions ok.  Big hugs to you :) 

Re: Let's Talk Radiation

Posted by Essjay on May 14, 2019 9:18 pm

#6/20 radiation today and the first sign of an effect...I have a rash appearing on my breast, and it feels prickly. I was hoping to last a few more sessions before seeing and feeling something. 
Is now the time for aloe vera? Do I put it on before or after the lotion?

Re: Let's Talk Radiation

Posted by MLYuen on May 15, 2019 6:31 pm

Essjay‍ , I would start applying the aloe vera gel (make sure it is all natural, organic with no alcohol content - I used the brand Real Aloe available from Wholefoods or health food stores) - and pretty much saturated the area in the morning & at night (and right after the rad session), so your skin can be cooled & moisturize by the gel.  I added Calendula herbal balm to the skin as well, this herb is healing, and very comforting to skins - especially healing for skin issues during Rads.  I used up my entire jar during my 16 rounds of Rad (and pre & post treatment applications too).   Good luck! You are on your way to half mark before you know it (10th round) :)  

Re: Let's Talk Radiation

Posted by weezer on May 24, 2019 3:48 pm

Hi Everyone,  Fairly new to this site and stumbled upon this feed.  I just finished 6 of 16 treatments, left breast and have stumbled upon your remarks about the breathing techniques.  I am concerned that this technique was not talked about with my Doctor before hand.  Hmmmmm Will certainly speak to them on Monday during my next treatment.  Hoping that the first 6 haven't done any harm thus far :( . 

Re: Let's Talk Radiation

Posted by Essjay on May 24, 2019 5:04 pm

Hi weezer‍ we all come in different shapes and sizes. It may be you don’t need to do the deep breathing...