How to take skin care during Radiation Therapy

Dr. Jagdish Shinde. MD, DMRT – Consultant Radiation Oncologist Pune

What skin reaction to expect…

Radiation therapy can cause skin reaction at the site of treatment. Severity of reaction increases as radiation progresses. During first two weeks patient won’t feel any skin reaction. Patient may feel slight redness of skin during first 24 to 48 hours of starting Radiotherapy. During 3rd week there is reddening of skin followed by blackish discoloration. If skin dose is more then patient may have ulceration of skin. Initially there is dryness of skin with hair loss in affected area. In severe cases the area may become wet called wet reaction. Patient may have more skin reaction in area of skin folds, area where loose skin is present and skin where more friction is present like armpit.

Do’s and Don’ts during Radiation therapy

  1. Don’t apply hard soap on radiation area during bathing. Cleaning area with plain water or with small amount of mild soap can be done.
  2. Don’t do shaving of radiation area with blade. Shaving with electronic device is allowed.
  3. Don’t apply deodorant, perfume, talk or any other cosmetic material over radiation area.
  4. Don’t expose the radiation area to heat like direct sunlight.
  5. Wear loose and cotton cloths. Do not use tight and irritating cloths.
  6. Some medicines like alovera gel, low dose local steroids may reduce the skin toxicity. Please consult your physician before starting any medication.
  7. Use of higher end technology like IMRT may help to reduce skin toxicity.

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