Radiation can reduce breast cancer recurrence by up to 70% — but it can also have unfortunate side effects. This is because it damages healthy cells while it’s zapping cancerous cells. It’s common to be nervous or scared of what may happen to your skin during this type of therapy, so we’re here to break it down.
The side effects tend to gradually appear a couple weeks after the treatment has started, and can last for up to six months after it has ended. The severity of the symptoms can vary from person to person, especially when you factor in how many weeks the therapy is required. In some cases, the onset of side effects won’t occur until months or even years after treatment, but this is fairly rare.
What Are The Side Effects Of Radiation Therapy?
The most common effects include damage to skin (like sensitivity, skin weepiness, burning, dryness, blisters, peeling, and itchiness) and fatigue that won’t improve with rest. Less common effects include heart problems, lung problems, low white blood cell count, and lymphoedema. In extremely rare cases, radiation can lead to a secondary cancer, like sarcoma (cancer of the connective tissues).
Your breasts may change slightly in size (due to fluid build-up or scar tissue), the skin may appear thicker, your pores may be more noticeable, and your skin may even become darker in the treated area. In addition, your changed body image will definitely take some getting used to, and then there are other emotional side effects like fear and anxiety that come from not knowing the outcome of your treatment.
Many people will not experience severe symptoms, so don’t fret: just be prepared. Since radiation therapy can seem overwhelming and scary, we’ve included a list of items that will help you get through your weeks of treatment.
Tips To Stay As Comfortable As Possible:
Wear loose clothing
Try not to wear a bra if areas are raw, try a sports bra.
The treated area will be more susceptible to sunburn than the rest of your skin, so be sure to use sunscreen.
Use warm water in the shower
When you wash the area, use only water and mild soap, eg dove.
Balance activity with plenty of rest.
Sweat can irritate the affected area.
Stay hydrated, water is crucial.
source-the breast cancer site