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All TopicsForum: Radiation Therapy - Before, During and After → Topic: itchy red bumps-like hives

Topic: itchy red bumps-like hives

Forum: Radiation Therapy - Before, During and After — What to expect from treatment and ways to cope with side effects.

Posted on: Apr 7, 2008 04:21AM

Pam40 wrote:

Have had a rough time getting through radiation on my own-not many to talk to.  2 and a half more weeks to go and now covered over the breast with tiny itchy red bumps.  Does any one else have this and what helps!!  Help!!!

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Apr 7, 2008 04:57AM gsg wrote:

I had that after my 2nd or 3rd rad tx and was able to get rid of them by switching from biafine cream to calendula ointment (purchased over the counter at a vitamin store).  I kept pure aloe vera in the refrigerator and this was very soothing.  Also used baby powder with cornstarch. 

The other thing I did was shower three times a day.  Also, I went swimming each day following rads and made sure I put the calendula on liberally before swimming..then I would shower and reapply.  I'd shower before bed and sometimes would put nothing on my skin to sleep to allow it to breathe, other times I'd just apply the aloe and sometimes just the baby powder.

I never experienced radiation fatigue and I credit that to swimming laps for 1 hour each day.  I think the coolness of the water also helped.

Good luck to you...you're almost there! 

Pardon me if I repeat myself. Can't remember jack.

Dx 3/2006, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIa, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 7, 2008 05:07AM deborye wrote:

I had the itchy littly red bumps about 1 wk into radiation, it is called folliculitis.  It is when the hair follicules are damaged they get irritated.  Moisturize repeatedly.

 Pink Ribbon 

~~~Deb~~~NEVER GIVE UP/NEVER SURRENDER**IDC 6mm & DCIS 7mm

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Apr 7, 2008 05:59AM Pam40 wrote:

Thank you both for replying.  I see the rad onc tomorrow but this rash and the swelling I had on Friday has really scared me.  Also the rad onc has not been all that helpful when I have concerns.  He usually tells me everything I am experiencing is not from radiation. so I am loosing faith.  When I read on the net it looks to me like other people have the same experiences.  How do you wear a bathing suit to swim without it rubbing your skin raw?  My skin has gotten real red under the arm and in the mid chest.  I have been planning to swim as soon as I can.  I think that helps any ailment.  I am wondering if the moisturizer I am using might be making it worse?  I'm looking into trying something else.  Does the thick red skin and the itchy bumps go away?

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Apr 7, 2008 06:14AM gsg wrote:

I wore one-pieces that weren't at all constricting on the top...in other words, no strapless ones that have elastic that runs across the chest.  Just regular tank suits that were fairly loose on top so nothing pressed and i had one blouson suit, which was the most comfortable of them all...this type.

Pardon me if I repeat myself. Can't remember jack.

Dx 3/2006, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIa, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 7, 2008 06:20AM gsg wrote:

the itchy red bumps went away within days of changing ointments and starting swimming.  my rad onc at first was hesitant about the chlorine, but i promised her i would take meticulous care of my skin...and i think the swimming, calendula and 3 showers a day is what kept my skin looking and feeling good. 

i finished rads end of November 2006 and the only difference between my radiated side now and the nonradiated is i do have a little bit of orange peel effect on the breast skin and the radiated side is firmer and perkier.

Pardon me if I repeat myself. Can't remember jack.

Dx 3/2006, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIa, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 7, 2008 06:24AM Pam40 wrote:

gsg, thank you so much!!!  I wear one piece but mine are tight.  I will look for a loose one.  I will look for the calendula too.  Also to deborye, I just looked up fooliculitis and that is what it looks like.  What did you mosurize with?  Did the rash persist all through radiation tx???  Does it go away??  Thank you so much and bless you both!!!

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Apr 7, 2008 07:21AM Pam40 wrote:

gsg, thank you so much for sharing.  I have felt so down because when I have problems they make me feel like I am unusual at the rad place.  This time I am going in knowing that someone else has been affected the same way I have.  You have made me feel so much better.  I was using pure aloe with great effects until last week when the rash got really bad.  The nurse saw it and wanted me to take benadryl for the swelling.  The swelling subsided after one benadryl but the rash, improved, persists.  I was starting to think I was allergic to the alloe or the xclair that I use.  I like both items for different reasons and like to switch off.  I know xclair can cause reactions because it has nut oil in it but I had no reaction when tried on other parts of me.  The rash has improved over the wekend some but I need to get through 4 more days and then the boost starts.  I hope that will improve things.  I don't know how it will be because I don't know anyone who has gone through this.  That's why you are a big help to me today.  Thank you so much.

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Apr 7, 2008 07:43AM gsg wrote:

Pam, you just made MY day...so happy to help.  You are absolutely not alone with this reaction.  Lots of women have it.  Sometimes I'd like to shake the people who treat us....I've heard of other women being told "that's not caused by radiation."  Ridiculous!

Here's a study on the calendula ointment published in the reputable Journal of Clinical Oncology.  It was comparing calendula with biafine and you can see how much better the calendula was. (I bought the ointment, not the cream.)  I think it was about $7 for a tube.  I hope you are able to get some relief.  Also, as I said, keep the pure aloe in the refrigerator.  It really does feel soothing and cool when you rub it on.

http://jco.ascopubs.org/cgi/content/full/22/8/1447 

 Keep me posted on how the rest of your treatments go.  I'm going to be watching for you.

Take care-

Patrice (GSG) 

Pardon me if I repeat myself. Can't remember jack.

Dx 3/2006, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIa, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 7, 2008 07:48AM Bren-2007 wrote:

Hi Pam,

I had those itchy red bumps. Arrgghhh.  Can't scratch and they hurt!  I put on Benadryl cream and Auqaphor after that.  My nurse explained it as the hair follicles being irritated as well.  She also recommended an old time remedy.  Take a handkerchief and get it wet, wring it out and lay it on your bare breast. Let the hanky air dry.  This was a great temp. help for me.  Stay away from anything with dyes or perfumes in it.

The bumps, redness, swelling, everything will go away in time.  You're on the countdown now ... 4 more, then the boosts.

Let us know how you're doing,

Bren

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Apr 7, 2008 07:58AM deborye wrote:

Your welcome Pam,

The wonderful staff at my rad onc office gave me Aquaphor and BB Lotion, the first reminds me of vaseline and the BB lotion is creamy.  First I used the BB Lotion, but alittle more than half way through my rad tx I used the Aquaphor.  My rash was mild and I got a pinkish red and very warm boobie, but everything goes away after you are done with your tx.  It has been almost a yr since I finished and I still use the Aquaphor and BB lotion as my nipple still gets dry and flakey.  Benadryl spray worked also for me for the itch.

 Glitter Apple 

~~~Deb~~~NEVER GIVE UP/NEVER SURRENDER**IDC 6mm & DCIS 7mm

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Apr 7, 2008 10:26AM Pam40 wrote:

Wow!  I wish I would have known about this site long time ago.  Never did this before.  Have suffered through fear and more fear with radiation on my own until someone from the ACS told me about this site.  Thank you all so much!!  I will let you know what they tell me at the rad place tomorrow.   

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Apr 8, 2008 08:31AM Pam40 wrote:

Hi everyone, the onc rad didn't say anything about the rash but the nurse said it comes with the radiation and it will go away, it wasn't as mean and ugly today as it was over the weekend so she didn't prescribe and treatment for it.  At least I know what it is thanks to all of you.  I will use all the suggestions you shared with me and live with it.  At least there is light at the end of the tunnel...I hope....  Thank you all so much for putting me at ease yesterday.  So kind and I really appreciate the help!!!!  I'm ignoring the rash today.  The pain is a bigger issue...my breast feels like it's been slammed in a door.  3 more days till boost(8days of that)  Hope it goes fast.  I was reading the side effects of the hormone drugs this morning and my whole body started shaking...that's another subject and I better deal with getting through this hurdle first.  One day at a time. 

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Apr 8, 2008 08:44AM gsg wrote:

Don't get out ahead of yourself.  You may have NO side effects with them.  I've been on Arimidex since December '06 and haven't experienced any side effects at all.  Lots of women are able to handle them with no problem at all.  Relax...you're almost done with rads...you have the hard stuff mostly behind you now!

Pardon me if I repeat myself. Can't remember jack.

Dx 3/2006, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIa, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 8, 2008 11:47AM Pam40 wrote:

gsg, you are the best!!!!, not that I want to be protected from the negative but it is so nice to hear something positive.  I though once my surgery was done that was the biggest hurdle but for me it has turned out to have been the easiest one.  The rest of this stuff just scares me to death.  Thanks for the encouragement.  I have pain today so I feel tired.  Hope tomorrow will be better.  I'm on the count down.  I'm trying to find the calendula lotion but no luck yet...may have to order on the net.  In the meantime I had ordered some radiagel and am using the aloe.  I followed your advice about washing 3 times a day and letting the skin breath.  That has clreared the rash away quite a bit.  Will see how it goes.  Got to go swimming.  I usually go with my daughter during the winter but have not done it this year.  Walked everyday instead.  Need to find another place to swim and get to it.

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Apr 8, 2008 11:47AM deborye wrote:

I am on Arimidex also, and have no side effects to complain about.  The main two questions my onc asks is, "are you having hot flashes or joint pain?"  I had hot flashes b4 dx cause I was 1 yr. post men. and joint pain, hey I'm 56, what else is new.  I look forward in taking that little white pill in the morning.

~~~Deb~~~NEVER GIVE UP/NEVER SURRENDER**IDC 6mm & DCIS 7mm

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Apr 8, 2008 10:12PM gsg wrote:

Pam:  I bought calendula ointment at the Vitamin Shoppe.  Don't know if you have those in your area.  Was very happy to read your rash is a little better.

Deborye:  I, like you, look forward to taking the little white pill each morning.  I'm hoping as long as bone density scans remain good (so far my bones are great) that I can stay on it longer than 5 years. 

I also got the go ahead from my onc to put 2 TBS of freshly ground flax in my oatmeal each morning...some studies are showing it can actually shrink breast cancer tumors.  Some oncs are on the fence about it for ER/PR+ women, but mine said no problem and I trust him.

Pardon me if I repeat myself. Can't remember jack.

Dx 3/2006, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIa, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 9, 2008 10:24AM Pam40 wrote:

Nice to hear that both of you are OK with HT.  gsg what's your secret to the good bone density tests??  You are doing great.  Hope that continues for you!!  I'm 52 next month and do not want a life of joint pain.  I collect fossils and wood carve.  I spend most of my time out doors.  Joint pain will be a problem(I guess I'll have to take that up with the onc).  I take Flax 3 times a day, plus eat flax bread toast in the morning.  Why are the onc's on the fence about flax?  I can understand why they say nay to soy but flax I don't see the prob.  Thanks!!  The rash and the itching has subsided for now anyway.  Did either of you have painful breast swelling at the end of your whole breast rads?  I'm battling pain again today only worse than yesterday.  Benadryl helps but not much.  Don't know how I'm going to get through 2 more days of this.  They said when I start the boosts it will get better but ouch!!!!!  Any suggestions beside Motrin and Benadryl?  I love the positive attitude you both have.  You make me feel psitive.  As always...thanks again :-)

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Apr 10, 2008 01:58AM Blinx wrote:

For itching, the nurse recommended hydrocortisone. I used some generic cream, but it stung. Then I switched to Cortaid ointment, which soothed and stopped the itching.

I had breast pain about 6 weeks after finishing rads, but it seems to have subsided. Every time I get any weird pains (I wrote about neck and shoulder pain), they last a week or two and then disappear.

Good luck with the rest of your treatment.

Dx July 2007 DCIS Grade 3 (at age 46); Lumpectomy Sept 2007. ER+/PR-; Finished 33 rad tx Jan 2008. 3.5 years of Tamoxifen then quit..

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Apr 10, 2008 06:11AM CMFR wrote:

I ended up with a rash that started about 3 weeks after rads ended. I still have it 3-4 weeks later. It doesn't really itch. My rads onc and surgeon don't know what it is. I have tried Jean's Cream, aloe, vitamin E, Aquafor, and hydrocortisone... The surgeon said let's see what happens but it doesn't look like cancer and he will biopsy it if I still have it when I see him next.

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Apr 10, 2008 07:00AM, edited Apr 10, 2008 07:01AM by Bren-2007

Pam,

Yes, I had a painful boob and swelling, especially right around boost time.  I had 8 boosts.  It felt like the pain was deep inside.  Rad onc said it was nerve endings getting zapped.  After rads were over, he said it was nerves trying to regenerate.  I also had a lump under my arm that was completely numb.  (Scary to shave there!)  He said this was permanent.  BUT, it's slowly coming back to life!  I think it takes many, many months for all the healing after treatment and radiation.  The effects of radiation are cummulative. 

Mine didn't get better when boosts started because my boosts were almost the same field as the whole breast radiation!!  All in all, though, I didn't have near the severe effects that some experience.

I went right for the Vicodin if it got too painful!!  And by the time the boosts came along and for about two weeks after rads, I was taking 2 hour naps in the afternoon.  (I'm self-employed so I could do that.)

Keep us posted on how you're doing!!  You're almost done!!!

Bren

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Apr 10, 2008 07:22AM, edited Apr 10, 2008 07:22AM by gsg

Pam:  You and I are exactly the same age...I just turned 52 at the end of February.  Nobody in my family has ever had osteoporosis that I know of, so it must be genetics.  Flax messes with estrogen, but some recent studies have shown that it's still beneficial for estrogen + women and has been shown to reduce breast cancer tumors.  To get breast cancer benefits from it, the flax must be ground and used within a couple hours of the grinding, according to what I've read.

So sorry you are having breast pain.  I don't have anything to offer in the way of help for it.  So glad you are nearing the end, though!

Pardon me if I repeat myself. Can't remember jack.

Dx 3/2006, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIa, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 10, 2008 08:58AM Pam40 wrote:

Thanks for the replies and info everyone.  Interesting that most of the oncs seem to give us the run around and they all want to biopsy and xray everything.  Makes one afraid to mention that anything hurts.  They wanted me to have xrays and bone scans because I complained of pain on the edge of the breast bone after rads.  Says it's not from radiation yet I never had that feeling in my life and it subsides on weekends.  I told them no, no more radiation.  I haven't even finished the TX rads and they want to start that on me. 

gsg, I have not heard about flax messing with estrogen.  Thanks for cluing me in.  Will have to look that up.  I already gave up my soy.  Sheeeeeesh what next :-(  Sounds like you have a good onc.  I'm changing mine, hope I pick a good one. 

I was reading on the other radiation pages what some of the women are going through.  That's some scary stuff.  Don't know what to think most of the time anymore.  Tomorrow is my last total breast rad.  I barely made it in today...suffered to much last night.  They keep telling me that I will feel better when boost starts.  Hope that is true.  I feel like a walking pharmacy with all the Motrin and benadryl I have taken this week.  Woke up this morning with a benadryl hang over.  Had to drink coffee to be able to drive myself to rads. 

Thank you all for the kind wishes and the support.  It has meant allot to me.  I don't feel so alone now.  It is so hard to find people to talk to.  Friends don't have a clue and I don't like to scare anyone.

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Apr 11, 2008 03:40AM Pam40 wrote:

The pain has gotten so intense that I was up all night last night.  I got my self ready to go today and ended up calling them and taking the day off.  Bummer!!!  Wanted to get the last total B. done.  The pain has me feeling worn and tattered.  All I have to take is Motrin.  They have to see me before they resume Tx again so if the pain remains this intense maybe I will need a script to get through.  See how tomorrow goes.

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Apr 12, 2008 05:46AM gsg wrote:

so sorry to hear about all this pain, pam.  hopefully, with yesterday and the weekend off, it'll give you some time to regroup.  if the pain is waking you up, definitely get a prescription-strength dose of something.  how is the redness?

Pardon me if I repeat myself. Can't remember jack.

Dx 3/2006, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIa, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 12, 2008 07:55AM Pam40 wrote:

gsg Hi  I took today off also.  The skin is lobster red and like leather.  I guess they were going to burn me until I said enough.  Yesterday was my breaking point.  I feel better today, pain is tolerable but skin is very red, brown, and like leather.  1 more total B treatment and then 8 boosts to go.  This was the first time I missed any treatments so Oh well I finish 2 days later.  Enough suffering for me.  Thanks for asking and thanks for your support.  Think it is real cool that you and me are the same age.  And I am anxiuos to get in the swimming pool.  They don't want my boost markings wash off(they don't tattoo that) so swimming is on hold until I am finished.  I think the swimming is what I need to heal.  I am so glad you suggested it!!!!