+ Reply
Log in or Register to participate in these discussions
22 Posts
Hello there 

My father has a throat cancer diagnosis and is about to begin radiation therapy. I understand in the coming weeks he will have side effects on his skin  especially face and mouth. He’s being prescribed something for the oral challenges he will face but not the skin on his face. Just being told non scented products etc.

id like to be able to get my father the best I can but can seem to find anything specifically for cancer patients in Canada. I’d like to know is there are any products such as moisturizers, soaps etc specifically formulated for those going through the effects of radiation therapy in Canada? Whether it’s online, in store or prescription? If so what are they called?

also any advice or suggestions of store bought products that have proven effective easing the side effects of radiation and helping its severity are appreciated!

Thank you kindly 
27 Replies
7042 Posts
Welcome Pleuvoir‍ !! Thank you for posting on behalf of your dad.   Not everyone has the same side effects  of radiation.    So it's hard to say ahead  of time what he might need.   But I'm going to tag law‍ who has been through  throat cancer who can tell you what she used thst was helpful.
512 Posts
Hello,  Pleuvoir‍ , I am so glad you are on this supportive and informative CancerConnection site. And, Brighty‍ , thank you for picking up on Pleuvoir's contribution and thinking to tag me. You are a special lady.
Pleuvoir, I struggled with the pains of tongue cancer and the horrid side effects of radiation. I had 36 rounds, which thankfully, rid me of cancer, but the side effects were quite painful.Opioids and Fentanyl patches helped me survive the pain somewhat, 
Some folks have NO negative side effects....I had pretty a pretty rough fight.
I had tongue blisters which took many months to heal, so I swigged a red viscous liquid, Lidodan 2% solution, a topical anesthetic which numbs everything in your mouth just to make eating and living tolerable. It's expensive ($20 per tiny bottle) but I found it to be a miracle. You must ask your pharmacist for it, although a prescription is not necessary.
My dentist filed down the inner sides of my molars to lessen their slashing open the blisters.
My neck skin peeled, which was like a sunburn, and the Oncology Nurses showed me how to soak a smooth cotton wash cloth in warm, previously boiled water, and then wrap it, covered by a non-sticking gauze around your neck to hold the warm, damp cloth in place until it cools, and then repeat as needed. It is such a relief.
I also lightly rubbed lotion on the peeling skin, Aveeno non-scented lotion, or , Phytoplex Moisturizer Nourishing Creme, which comes in a tube. It is manufactured by 'Hedline Remedy'.and is a botanical cream.
I ate mashed potatoes with gravy and mushy pancakes with syrup...when I was able to chew a bit and swallow. I tried to swallow water as well...as much as possible.

AND---I found this wonderful site with such understanding and supportive people and the managers who moderate this site, Lianne_Moderato‍  and Lacey_Moderator‍ .
Advise your father to utilize reliable medical resources from his Cancer Centre library, and work with his Medical Team....and, please keep in touch!!
4 Posts
I'm so sorry to hear of the after effects of your treatment but glad you're getting some relief. I had high intensity radiation this past May and am now fighting pneumonitis from a scarred lung, and am on steroids to control the inflammation. I wish you well, and hope that your mouth continues to heal well.
20 Posts
Hello Pleuvoir‍ .  I just finished 5 weeks of radiation for throat cancer at the end of Aug.  The dry mouth started fairly quickly, around week 2 for me, so I carried a water bottle with me everywhere, (still have to do this). I used Lubriderm on my neck from day one of radiation. The burn didn’t happen for over 2 weeks post radiation, and it was bad. My daughter had some prescribed cream for a burn that she said I should try, called Flamazine by Smith and Nephew. It worked GREAT!  Need a prescription though, maybe get it ahead if time.  I used Lidodan  to help with sore mouth, the diluted one which you can swallow (unlike full strength which you can’t swallow) worked best because my pain was further down my throat. I am still having issues with the side of my tongue and a friend suggested organic coconut oil. A half a tsp. and chew till it becomes liquid, swish around your mouth and spit out. It’s very soothing. I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any more questions. I go for my 2 month post CT scan on Fri. 13, (not the best day!!) so fingers crossed.
1201 Posts
Pleuvoir‍ Bonjour a vous pleuvoir.....I am taking a chance that you are French speaking..(pleuvoir means to rain).......bienvenue ici avec nous....maintenant, il ne pleut pas ici....beaucoup de soleil.

Welcome to our caring site....I am sorry to hear of your father's diagnosis, of throat cancer.  There are many helpful responses, as I have seen.  I had radiation, in the colon area.

I wanted to say please keep sharing with us, and we are all here to support and listen......nous sommes ici pour vous.

Bonne Journee

22 Posts
I appreciate this so much! And also commend your strength and overcoming this! 

he’s so stubborn and also now very constipated he just mentioned. Laxatives aren’t helping too much yet he won’t sip a lot of water and also smokes, any smokers quit right before radiation? Any tips to help? 

I am going to speak to the pharmacist tomorrow as well I’m not sure if any doctor prescribed products for his skin now and during radiation which starts this week!

I’ll be exploring everything mentioned here I can’t thank you enough! 
20 Posts
Hi Pleuvoir‍ .  I too am a smoker, I am ashamed to admit. I had quit a couple of weeks before my radiation but started again after the 3rd week in. I was pretty stressed, being away from home, COVID, etc. I have tried twice since to quit but can’t get my mind to go along with what my head says to do! It has always been a stress reliever and, also, I enjoy it. I have my 2 month post radiation CT scan this Friday and follow up results on the 25th. I am going to try to quit again before that. It’s difficult. I would recommend the patch. When I did quit, it helped.  I also meant to say that when I used the Flamazin cream it healed my burn within a week. It’s very good!  Take care and good luck with your dad.  My daughter has been working on me also, lol.
20 Posts
elle29‍ look at my posts, there are two, but I mentioned the things I just found helpful with my treatment. If you want to post directly to someone, type @ and the name they use. It will show up blue. That message will go to who you want to talk to . 
244 Posts
Hi Pleuvoir‍ 

The only way your father has any chance of quitting smoking is if HE wants to quit.  Trying to force him will do no good at all.

If he is at least considering quitting, I would suggest he join Smoker's Helpline.  They have a lot of information about how to go about quitting.  There is also an online forum of people who are in different stages of their quit, and it is invaluable.  Just like this forum, people help other people, and it is very encouraging.  I quit almost three years ago, and it would not have been possible without the help of Smoker's Helpline.

Your father is very lucky to have you on his side.  He is going to need lots of support as he goes through his cancer treatments.  I wish you both the best of luck.
22 Posts

LoriTat‍  brencanlaw‍ Everyone! Moderators as well!

Bless all your hearts!!! I am thankful for the warm wishes, you have all shared so much with me and are winning the battle and sharing your wisdom. 

My father should have tried quitting sooner and preparing sooner, radiation starts tomorrow and he says patches don’t work bla bla but this may give motivation to help it work better . I just worry of the patch on top of smoking while cutting cut to quit during radiation. He doesn’t need to make it worse nor have more terrible effects of radiation and lessen its effectiveness. 

I wonder what ways people have been successful in quitting after being a heavy smoker for so long. Doctor suggested juul vape as the lesser of two evils but he’s not a huge fan. Also if there’s vaping at all I’d like the best one free of substances that are known to possibly by harmful.

Also I want to be sure he’s got the best products for his skin, doctor will provide some numbing rinse or something I believe, apparently is some solution combination. 

im also seeking ways to ease pain both physically as well as mentally. It’s hard to see what interests him, especially when he’s frustrated and in pain, his throat hurts all the time, constipation is worse I assume from the pain med increase and not eating solids. He is to get a g tube as well. 

sorry I’ve brought this post into all areas than just what it was intended for but it generally is to find hear experiences see what’s worked for who during radiation and learn. 

I also think connecting with a survivor would be helpful for him to not feel so alone. I just don’t know how we can do that and where to turn 

Hes got a rough road ahead, I’m also open to suggestions that may therapeutically. Stubborn, sweet man also has copd and emphysema 

Thanks again everyone!!!

Cynthia Mac
3229 Posts
Hi, Pleuvoir‍ , My father was a heavy smoker, too, and Treepeo‍ Is right: they have to want to quit.

Unbeknownst to me, my Dad “set a date” to resume smoking after his lung surgery. When I found out, I was crushed, hurt, and angry. Unfortunately, all any of those emotions did was hurt me: Dad was quite happy getting back to doing what he’d always done.

So, my best suggestion for you is to let it go as best you can. I wish I could be more help, but quitting smoking can be harder than quitting drinking, it seems.
20 Posts
Pleuvoir‍   Re: smoking, I’m still working on that. Since it was a stress reliever, it’s been difficult. Am still trying and will beat it again. Key is you have to want to do it to succeed. Keep trying to help him and be understanding.
With regards to pain, I have been on Tylenol 3s.  Am waiting for a knee replacement (COVID!) and it’s pretty painful. When I had my radiation I spoke to oncologist and explained I might need something stronger as my body is used to the Tylenol. I was taking 4 cc of hydromorphone every 4 to 6 hours. I started to cut it back a couple of weeks post radiation. For constipation I found the best solution for me were the senekot tablets with stool softener, when I couldn’t swallow pills the doctor prescribes the liquid senekot.  Remember though, you need to speak up, if pain meds not working, say so. The thing that people don’t understand is that if you’re in pain, the meds don’t make you high, they take the pain away. Just work with the dr. to monitor the amount.
The weekly oncologist appointments are great for keeping up with all this. Anything that arises during radiation can be addressed with these visits. I know Princess Margaret also has a drop in that doesn’t require an appointment if you need anything between those visits. You can also call them once you’re home if things come up post radiation, (which I had to do a few times).  Good luck tomorrow!
20 Posts
Cynthia Mac‍   I just read your response to Pleuvoir‍ regarding your dads smoking. I have quit before and had been off them for a month when I started again. I can tell you, it’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. I also have to say that I quit a few years back and it was easier to do then, than after my throat cancer diagnosis. It’s more mental than anything. Hang in there. If he’s anything like me, your dad’s probably more frustrated and disappointed than you are.
Hi Pleuvoir‍ 

I'm so glad you have connected with our community, it is so important for caregivers to have support too.

Treepeo‍'s suggestion of Smoker's Helpline is a great one. As a caregiver you could also connect with them and ask questions and get more information about supporting your Dad. Here are ways you can connect: by phone at 1-866-366-3667, online at SmokersHelpline.ca , and by texting the word iQuit to the number 123456. LoriTat‍ when the time comes if you're looking for support I invite you to reach out also.

I also want to share with you are booklet: Help Someone Quite: One step at a time. To help connect your Dad with others who have had a similar experience you could call our Cancer Information Helpline at 1-888-939-3333 and they could look up services for you. He is also welcome here in our community!

I hope this helps,

12 Posts
You can do it, if not for you, then for those who love you, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer on oct 6/20, I quit smoking on oct 6/20 and haven’t looked back, if you keep trying you will succeed. I know you can do it, it’s hard I still think about it, but I also think of my 2 daughters and my fiancé and think I not only have to do this for me but them too. Good luck my friend, you can and will do it
22 Posts
Thanks again for the continued kind words! I also am a smoker and I know its tough and I told him I will quit with him and we can do that together. I will keep at it and be as supportive as I can. Tells me Nicorette did not work, well that's because we need the will and strength, its tough, I have tried! I will continue to explore!

Back to him skin which he mentions alot, his wife got him Glax Base? Its the one in the tub. I assume that the pharmacist assisted in this purchase and she does not want me to spend my own money, but she also did not keep me in the loop much on it. I know shes stressed too and is a big carer, she was a nurse and wants to take it all on! I always remind her I am here anything I can do big or small. 

Can someone give me feedback on that cream? Would it suffice for daily use? What were your skin regimens if you had one? Did you use a cleanser or just  warm water? Facial mists? Any other skin care products involved you found helpful? I know the barrier creams are great when the skin gets open and moist but I just wanna learn more of the products and regimens that made your skins challenges much easier to manage

Again I can not be anymore thankful to have found this!!!
Hi   Pleuvoir ,

My mother has been diagnosed with Squamous Carcinoma (SCC) . She had a surgery in Aug 2020 and started radiation at the beginning of October. She will finish her 30 sessions radiation on Nov 16. 

My mother uses Glaxal base cream . I started to put the cream on two weeks before her treatment, in order to keep her skin hydrated and in good condition.  I put the cream on her face and throat at least 3-4 times a day, and I put ALOT on her chin and throat area. I mean ALOT, like you put the mask on.  Usually takes about  10-15 mins and you will notice the cream will absorb into the skin.  I started to do the saline soak 3 times a day on her third week, and again I put lots of cream on after the soak. 

t's also very important to encourage her to drink. Mom drinks more than 2L fluid a day.  Does your father fear to go washroom too often, that's why he does not like to drink? Since we want to maintain her weight ( mom is on puree diet ), we give her  one bottle of resources 2.0, Ensure every day, plus the chrysanthemum tea, soup and some fruit juice that I made (pear, dates, kiwi), which helps with the bowel movement.  By the way, mom walks about 15 mins a day ( just pacing around the house), and she finds it helpful with her appetite and bowel movement. 

Mom usually drinks a zip of chrysanthemum tea before she walks in to the treatment room, she finds it helpful as her throat is moist for the treatment.  Right after she finishes the treatment and before we leave from the hospital, she will drink a cup of room temperature chrysanthemum tea (soothing the throat) and put the glaxal base cream, as we have to put mask on now, no one will notice you put lots of cream on.  

We just had our final review appointment with the doctor today. Mom still has 4 treatments to go. So far she only has skin redness, some ulcer in her mouth and swollen tongue. Some mild peeling on her neck, but no pain / itchiness. We still ask for prescription cream today, just in case if mom will need it after her treatment. Of course, everyone is different, but I think it's important to your father hydrated  and maintain his weight.  Good luck!!

54 Posts
Hello @Pleuvoir‍ ,
my husband had radiation on his neck for swollen lymph nodes due to his CLL progessing to a more agressive form.
it does affect  each person differently.  Our radiologist (Kitchener, Ontario)gave him a prescription for Magic Mouthwash and said to use it as neccessary. Start right away with it if you can get it. This is a mouth wash that you can swallow. Which my husband did not do in the beginning.  He discribed his throat as sunburned on the inside. He was already having a difficult time swallowing from the lymph nodes (who knwe they were at the base of your tongue also). Dry mouth may also be a severe side effect. We learned that the radiation destroyed all of his salivary glands permanently. Dry foods are out for him to eat now and meats are tricky.
ensure and protein drinks may be his best bet for a while. I found a good skin cream Cetaphil as his skin all over seamed to dry out  and flake . It has been 9 months since his last radiation and he has learned to live with his side effects. He has put back on 8 pounds from the 55 lost.
Best of luck to your dad and to you. There are a lot of people here to also help you through all of this.
I may not post often  but I follow most days. 
Be safe
512 Posts
Oh My Gawsh, how could I have forgotten to mention the best product for easing throat and mouth pain from radiation?
22 Posts
Thanks again so much everyone!!!

Sorry things got a little hectic for a few days.

Faithnstrong‍ Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. I am sorry your mother is going through this tough time. I hope she has a speedy recovery is out of the woods for good! They have Glax Base but I feel some other products maybe helpful for his skin for the same and different concerns that potentially happen. This has been so helpful and your in my thoughts and prayers.❤

D1955‍ Thank you for sharing! He got some solution prescribed that had to be mixed I think they said but I am not sure what it is, I will ask when I see him. I wish your husband all the best and your in my thoughts and prayers. Being able to share when you and your husband are going through this is a true act of kindness I am grateful for! I hope the pain does not get to bad for him to take in fluids and ease the side effects. How else do you help the dry mouth and ulcers etc? Thanks! ❤

I appreciate all the advice and kind word so much! He just finished his first week of radiation and seems in good spirits. He is noticing more pain now at the end of the week and is still smoking a little bit but I think he will be able to stop in the next week! Fingers crossed! I see him tomorrow and am gonna ask more about how hes feeling and if hes being diligent with what he needs to be and continue to be as supportive as I can.

Online I have tried to look up products for the skin for radiation and there's nothing to specific in Canada that's oncologist suggested, just the basic and common suggestions. I do see many say if the skin is open and moist to using a saline spray to cleanse can be soothing, has anyone used any kind of soothing or cleansing spray/mist of any that they found helpful? If so what was it and how was the skin at the time it was used? Also what cleansers or face washes did you use if any and how did you pat the skin dry, microfiber cloth? I assume something soft and adsorbent, I have some clothes that are very soft and absorb wetness but I want to ask was this helpful or necessary at all for you? All is all what products were best used and when and how did they help?

Thank you all and bless your hearts!
353 Posts
Allo Elle 27 : Does anyone recall NOXEMA I have been looking for that . As teens once , mmwe were laying on the dock and we got 2 degrees to 3 rd degree sun burns just laying on the dock one spring under cloudy skies at Muskoka / Halliburton / Algonquin  cottage . By the time we got back home with my parents my dear BF of British pale pocelin white skin with freckles splotches . Just had pink blistering skin , raw . But that NOXEMA soothed stayed on like a shield , and smelt good .
But her mother was not happy to see this reaction of her daughter brought home with  burnt raw pink , blistering , open skin , mfor weeks after . She was so brave .I will have to ask her how she slept then .  Worse then me , being just tanned and some flaking later .But the 2 of us , still talk  about that .U can  still get burnt badly , under cloudy grey skies from the UV  .
Cant we use sun burn relief products ,Aloe Vera and clean wash clothes , ice bags , freezer bean bags or peas and anti inflammatory meds for those exposed many tiny capillaries /  nerves . I feel scared now my pathology report mentions there was plent of skin ai do not want radical surgery further . The 
I just do not understand why Radiation is used still , all these years. It took a few good cancer folks to get over this fear .with me on another site , men .And I am finding with COVId pple here   I mean it killed the Japanese horrifically from the Nuclear Bomb used ther in radiation . And the Chernobyl Nuclear Energy Plant breakdown clouds that settled over the Reindeer almost wiped out in Lapland and Scandinavia people giving them cancer , my beautiful  cousins .
Iam sorry being from BC I cannot believe I got cancer here .When so many environmentalists , live and eat better . Surely I cannot be blamed . I feel reading the pathology report so ashamed of my distorted figure . When I thought I was a soft cuddly person,  some would say hugging me . ...Hugs ....
20 Posts
Pleuvoir‍  I sent you a suggestion earlier regarding a cream called Flamazine. I had my skin peel off from the front of my neck to the back and the cream worked within the week. I’m surprised I haven’t seen this yet from anyone yet because it worked so well. It’s a prescription cream specifically for burns. Check with your oncologist and see if it would benefit using before the skin starts to peel.  Good luck!
22 Posts

Good morning!
I believe it was mentioned earlier, I did bring it to my fathers attention to mention when he sees the doctor Wednesday, he is also picking up some solution from the pharmacy today or tomorrow, could be magic mouthwash I am not sure yet but I know it can not be swallowed.

I have noticed now that the first week is done he says hes in a little more pain and because taking the perc more frequently cause alot of constipation I think they will also be giving him some kind of morphine.

I have been doing alot of research and talking on her and its been so helpful! Any more products/suggestions that anyone finds helpful for his skin and also the mouth pain and swallowing. I learned yesterday that he is holding off on the feeding tube, has been drinking more ensures through out the day and gained ten pounds back from the 30 he lost rapidly so thats great! I head the mouth and throat pain can get really bad, even at its worst was anyone still able to drink and what were you able to eat aside from just water and ensure?

brencan‍ Thank you for the kind words! I hope your keeping well and getting better!!!

LoriTat‍ Hoping he remembers to bring it up Wednesday to the doctor, I have mentioned it numerous times as a reminder :) Hes still smoking, aiming to quit by the end of the week, has cut down and come a ways, its tough! Trying to vape a little, I suggested no longer buying smokes and just take a puff of  the little vape now and then. Fingers crossed! And I hope everything is going well for you, keep me posted!!!

Cynthia Mac‍  I can believe that! Its tough to quit and I think come a certain age you become set in your ways or don't always grasp the magnitude of such a situation, even accepting the diagnosis! I am still having trouble believing it. He has been told if he does not quit it will be months not years. But I see his effort and can not imagine how difficult it it! I hope all is safe and well!!!

Again thank you so much everyone!!!
4 Posts
Pleuvoir, as long as they can keep him out of pain, any discomfort and anxiety at all, that what all I wanted for my husband and I'm sure it's what you want most for your Dad. At this point if he's still smoking and it's not going to make a huge difference, in my very humble opinion, why add another stress factor to the quality of his life. But, I'm not his oncologist; I don't have his clinical records and I'm only responding from my own experience as both caring for my beloved late husband with a rare and fatal lc, and now myself in which time will tell. Many healing vibes sent to both of you, you for your loving support of your dear father and to him for healing.
26 Posts
Hi Pleuvoir,

My husband had 35 treatments of radiation for throat cancer. He finished treatments 22 months ago. He is doing fine. He was 58 when he was diagnosed. The last 3 weeks of his treatments he was only drinking Ensure. He was drinking 6 Ensure plus ( the one that has the most calories) a day, 2 for breakfast, 2 for lunch, and 2 for dinner. He would numb his mouth first with the  mouth wash and then he would drink his 2 Ensure. He had a feeding tube but he never used it. 
Before he switched to Ensure , I would make him very nutritious smoothies with protein powder, yogurt, almond butter, frozen avocado, etc. They were nutritious and full of calories. He had to stop drinking them because they were too thick, it was too hard to swallow.
For his neck, he used Aveeno cream. That is what was recommended at the hospital. He was treated at Princess Margaret. During the last week of the treatments he was putting saline compresses on his neck as his neck was getting quite red from the radiation treatments.
Don't hesitate to ask me if you have any questions. 

20 Posts
Pleuvoir‍   I hope he does remember the Flamazine, it worked like a miracle for me!   I had pretty intense pain until about 3 weeks after. I was taking Hydromorphone prescribed by oncologist. I communicated with him until we got the dosage up to where I was comfortable, that’s important, if it’s not enough, say so. I was able to eat puddings, apple sauce, jello, some noodles with cream sauce, ensure, rice pudding, mashed potatoes with lots of gravy, etc. I threw more food out because I couldn’t eat it, but you have to try to know. They had 2 mouthwashes. One was full strength, Lidodan, which you cannot swallow. Swoosh then spit out. My pain was further down my throat. Oncologist gave me a diluted form of Lidodan, which you can swallow. Swallow little bits at a time to get the best effect.  I was told by a patient to get organic coconut oil.  You chew on it until it becomes liquid, swoosh in your mouth and spit out. My mouth was really sore and this was very soothing.  Good luck going forward! 
22 Posts
I apologize for not being online for sometime it’s been a hectic time! But I’d like to share the link to my recent post and reconnect with those who were so kind and supportive :)

+ Reply