Planning for Radiation Side Effects

Although radiation itself is painless, the skin in the treated areas may turn pink or red and become sensitive, much like sunburn. It may also itch. These reactions are more likely to happen toward the end of therapy, and are more common with external radiation treatments.

If you're feeling breast discomfort, try these tips:

With external radiation, your breast will need a lot of TLC, so wash gently with lukewarm water, wear soft fabrics and loose-fitting tops, and use the special cream your doctor recommends to soothe irritated skin.

Some women are more comfortable going braless, while others find that a supportive bra prevents chafing. Experiment until you find what works best for you. For partial breast radiation, follow the instructions provided by the radiation team.

Let family members know you may feel tired:

Radiation treatment may make you more tired than usual, and fatigue could continue for several weeks after treatment ends. Make sure you get adequate sleep each night—and let yourself nap during the day if you need to.

Is Radiation the Next Step?

Share |