In radiation therapy, ionizing radiation is used to destroy tumor cells in a focused manner. With the proper planning of the team of specialists (including a radiation oncologist, a physicist, and a technician), the strength of the radiation can be directed in the most optimal manner and thereby reduce the injury to the healthy cells surrounding the tumor. Most radiation therapy is external. Each one of the methods has relative advantages and disadvantages. The type of radiation or treatment method should be personalized, in accordance with the disease and the purpose of the treatment. Radiation therapies have a number of side effects, which depend on the location of the tumor and the amount of radiation.
One of the side effects is a response by the skin (itchiness/redness/infections) in the area of radiation and it usually passes by itself over time (after a week or two). In order to ease the skin’s response, the following is recommended:
- Chill the area with a wet towel or water
- Wash the area with water and unscented baby shampoo
- Do not rub or scratch the area and avoid exposure to the sun
- In the event of dry skin, Calendula ointment can be used
- It is preferable to avoid using oil-based ointments
- Pads can be used to protect the area. In the breast area, special nursing pads can be used.
Note: In extraordinary circumstances, there may be strong headaches or increased sweating, or an extreme skin response similar to severe burns. These side effects are extreme, and in the event that they appear, they should be brought to the attention of the treating physician. If you have questions about the radiation treatments and coping with the side effects, you can ask in the ”Ask the Radiation Oncologist” group in the Belong app.