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Let's talk Radiation
How many radiation treatments did you have?
What part of the body?
What was the most challenging part?
What would you recommend to others?

A continuation of this great thread:https://cancerconnection.ca/discussions/viewtopic/48/58900
23 Replies
16 Posts
            I was wondering if I should get a flu shot during my radiation treatments ?  I must ask this question when I get back to Halifax....

1926 Posts
I've been reading your posts and cheering you on as you progress through your treatments! 

Did you see this discussion on getting the Flu shot? It was posted in the "Living Well After Cancer" forum but it talks about getting the flu shot while still in treatment (supporting the idea to get it done!) 

Take care, 
16 Posts
Thanks Ashcon for the link, much appreciated...today I finally got the nerve up and told my Brother and Sister about my Cancer, waiting for replies....a load off my chest
and feel much better....

- A291er
244 Posts
Hi Lacey,

I had 15 radiation treatments to the left side of my chest.  The worst part for me started the last week of radiation.  I had what they said was a rather severe reaction, that being welts, a rash, and burns.  Fortunately for me, I had my treatments at Princess Margaret.  They gave me written information about what to do during and after radiation, and the information was invaluable.  I used Glaxal cream throughout, and the nurse at PM gave me some of an ointment called ProShield which I applied to my incision sites.  I also made saline solutions as directed, and found that J cloths were perfect for laying across my burns.  They wash easily and dry very quickly, so it was easy to keep it clean.  I didn't refrigerate my saline solution, because my skin was already so hot that even at room temperature, it felt cool.  I live alone so I was able to walk around without a top on which also helped, because I couldn't stand anything touching my chest.  The itch was incessant.  The whole burn nightmare lasted for about a month.

I would suggest that anyone who suffers radiation burns makes themselves a priority.  Take the time to treat your burns as directed by your doctor/nurse.  Stay on top of it so you don't develop any kind of infection.  And do give yourself saline treatments.  They were a lifesaver for me.
10 Posts
I am scheduled to start radiation.  THe oncologist indicated either 16 or 25 treatments.  I guess they will know when they tag or tattoo me.  

It will be on my right breast and axillary.  I am very worried about this, but am hoping it will go smoothly and quickly.  
1536 Posts
Maureen‍ I’ve shared a link to the CCS booklet on radiation treatment which I hope helps allays some of your fears.

when you go for your preparation they will go through everything with you. They will tattoo you (tiny dots) and do lots of scans to work out the program of treatment for you. 

one thing you could do ahead of treatment is to get some water based cream - CeraVe or glaxol base we’re what I was advised.

26 Posts
Thanks to everyone for their posts on radiation. I just had my consultation about radiation. There was mention of chemo plus radiation and this was the first time I had heard that!  I go see a medical oncologist Fri. Nov. 6 . Hopefully she can answer more of my questions.
As to using creams on my breast during radiation ,I was told NOT to as it can affect the radiation. When problems arise the DR. Will then tell me what to use.  I was starting to buys creams to help,  Glaxal base, 100% Aloe etc.   I guess I put that on hold.
I am to have 25 radiation treatments and 8 Boosts.  I am feeling anxious about adding chemo into the mix as well!
Thank goodness for this group!!!
1201 Posts
Lucy77‍ Hello Lucy.....Glad your consultation is done.....if you have any more questions or concerns on Radiation (or chemo)...write them all down, and be sure to ask your Oncologist, when you have your first appt/round of Radiation.  I had Radiation (colon area).....it made me feel tired.....I had to endure a FULL bladder!!  Every day of radiation !! I never want to see a water bottle again!  You may get a "tattoo marker", to direct beams of radiation to correct area, for strength.  I can play Connect A Dot, on my belly!  I won !!

Keep posting, and sharing, we are all listening.


26 Posts
1926 Posts
Sending this message out to Inca‍ and Marguerite‍ and anyone else who will be starting radiation soon.

This Canadian Radiation Oncologist, Dr David Palma from London, Ont wrote a book and has a website with great patient tools for anyone facing cancer. Any type of cancer. 

Here's a snippet specifically on radiation. Hope it is as helpful to you as it was to me. 

Marguerite: I hope you are recovering well from your recent mastectomy.  
Inca: good luck on Monday! 
Thank you ashcon‍ Very informative!

I saw you post about radiation and biopsy results
Thought I would steer you here to just one of the many radiation threads on the site.

Hope you find it helpful

Also wanted to give you a link to the CCS video on staging and grading that may be helpful when you get your biopsy results


20 Posts
I had 25 treatments, (stronger 5 week treatment that is usually 7 weeks), on my neck for throat cancer. Difficulties: being strapped down and not being able to move from the shoulders up (mesh face mask), loss of taste, burnt tongue. I finished my treatments the end of August and still have burnt tongue. I have about 20% taste back. My cancer is gone, so I am grateful. I also managed to quit smoking (again!!).
1 Posts
Hi I had 16 radiation treatments. Finished Sept 02, 2020. Just a word of encouragement to anyone facing that for your treatment. It went very well for me. Had some burns but no blisters or infection. Saline cloths were recommended but only used a couple times. 
My radiologist recommended aveeno unscented for my radiation site several times a day. This was left side after a mastectomy and chemo.  I was rather surprised but it worked for me. Also my
fatigue wasn’t to bad either. I know I was luckier than some but it isn’t always as tough as we expect. Merry Christmas to all. 
LoriTat‍  and Spunky‍ 

Thank you both for sharing your radiation experience. Congratulations to you both for completing that milestone.

LoriTat‍  - congrats as well on quitting smoking!

512 Posts
Hi Musical‍ 
And a Happy Healthier New Year to you as well!! I'm glad you wrote to the site as you know what a sympathetic bunch everyone is.
I have tolerated recovery reactions from radiation, 36 rounds, not for breast cancer, but for tongue cancer. Radiation was targeted to my head and neck areas, so my neck peeled and looked like dark potato chips....peeling off and burning, itching at times. It has grown new skin, but a darker shade than originally. You may want to ask the nurses to show you how to do a warm, wet, wrap to ease any skin irritation. It really helps soothe a bit, and, after 15 minutes. remove the wrap, and then gently apply Aveeno cream. That's the good news suggestion.
I still have my breasts, but my mouth and tongue took more than 9 months to heal from ferocious blisters which looked like the surface of the moon....Brutal. I really couldn't' eat easily or without awful pain until recently.
Anyhoooooooooooo....it would be welcomed to keep me/ us posted on your progress as many folks (male + female) can relate to physical and emotional reactions to radiation and/ or surgery of breasts' either as a cancer caregiver, or one who had/ has cancer currently.
And, you may want to read of others' similar experiences in the Discussions/Breast Cancer/ Radiation Reactions on this site.
2021 has GOT to be better than 2020.
16 Posts
Wishing you all a Happy New Year!  I heard from my Radiation Oncologist yesterday and she has recommended 19 rounds on the left breast.  I underwent 8 rounds of dose-dense chemotherapy and a lumpectomy to treat my triple negative breast cancer already.  I have a few appointments lined up next week to get things started. 

I would love any tips or tricks to get things prepared and on hand for pre and post-treatments. I have read through some of the material from the hospital that recommends saline cloths, mild soap and moisturizers.  
512 Posts
You are on the right track to keep on keepin' on. I admire your strength.
Cancer is the surprise package no one really wants!
17 Posts
Happy New Year to everyone. I wish this year and all the years ahead bring good health for all of us. I finished 25 radiations on right chest to collar bone for TPBC on 30 dec. It went well until 20th treatment but then the skin got opened and infected. There is a constant discharge. I was given oral antibiotic but it does not start working yet. They didn't stop the radiation which make infection worse I guess. 
109 Posts
I had 25 radiation treatments and 5 boosts to my right breast. The hospital had me use 3M Cavilon barrier spray every other day during treatment. It had an odd odour when using it but boy did it ever work well! I had no burning at all. When I started the boost treatments I did get some redness but I had no problems in the weeks after radiation was completed. I only use Aveeno unscented after as a moisturizer. The Cavilon was available at my Pharmacy without a prescription.
17 Posts
Thanks for your kind words. 
1926 Posts
That's really interesting about the 3M barrier spray. 
I've attached a link here for anyone interested in checking it out. 

I was prescribed Mepitel film when I had my 25 rounds of radiation back in 2018. It's much like that "Press and Seal" plastic wrap. I had had a double mastectomy and was flat so it worked ok, but I don't think it would work so well for anyone who still had their breast(s)! 
244 Posts
Radiation changed my hair.  When my hair grew back after chemo, it was really soft.  After radiation, the texture changed somewhat.  I used to have to wash it every day because it got oily.  Now, I only wash it every couple of days, and have to use a ton of conditioner because I get mats in my hair.  Go figure.  It's weird.

On the positive side, I haven't needed to use deodorant at all, which is unheard of for me.  It's wild what radiation does to your body.
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