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List of what to do/get/pack to prep for Radiation Therapy

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  • dani444
    dani444 Member Posts: 215
    edited May 2019
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    shoobie40- I had 33 rads treatments after my UMX with direct to implant. My PS is wanting to do fat grafting, she told me 6 months post rads is the earliest we can consider it. But definitely talk to your doctor as soon as you can.

  • MovinAlong
    MovinAlong Member Posts: 1
    edited August 2019
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    Thank you so much for the tips and information. I start my radiation on Monday, August 5th. I was lucky enough to only have 4 weeks of treatment instead of the original 8 that was first suggested. As I am very light skinned and work hard to protect my skin in the summer, I am fairly nervous about treatment.

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,946
    edited August 2019
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    I'm very fair-skinned and barely turned pink, except near my collarbone, which got mildly red, but it also faded very fast. If your nodes are clean, you won't get zapped there. All I used was pure aloe and Aquaphor. I had the long regimen of 33 sessions, and the only long-term effects months later is my skin on the rads side is slightly drier.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,285
    edited August 2019
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    Hi Movinalong and welcome to Breastcancer.org!

    We're so glad this list could be of help to you and give you some peace of mind as you prepare for treatment. We're wishing you the best of luck and look forward to supporting you through treatment and beyond!

    --The Mods

  • GiddyupGirl
    GiddyupGirl Member Posts: 196
    edited August 2019
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    Hi Movinalong - I am at 22/30 - blond hair blue eyes freckles. Just below my collar bone is quite red. Breast has a mild sunburn. I use Miaderm (its pricey but it seems to work well). My RO says being fair skin and getting a sunburn has nothing to do with how you react to radiation. She did say if you burn/tan your chest area normally your skin there is more likely to react a little more because the skin is damaged from years in the sun. It doesn't sound like you will have that problem. Try not to worry moisturise, drink lots and increase your protein (helps with the fatigue and healing). Good Luck the time will pass quickly. Everyone of the board has been super helpful.

  • Tweefl
    Tweefl Member Posts: 2
    edited August 2019
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    I start 3 weeks of radiation on 8/5 as well, also nervous. The tips on here are wonderful

    Wishing you well ThumbsUp

  • Christene502
    Christene502 Member Posts: 47
    edited August 2019
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    Appreciate the list.

    Starting radiation tomorrow. 8/13

    Definitely going to -- Drink lots of water and take ice-water with me.

  • petite1
    petite1 Member Posts: 2,232
    edited October 2019
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    Hi. All this information is very helpful to me. I have the simulation on 10/22. I have been using the lotion the Radiation nurse gave me to start before radiation, Aquaphor. I have not applied it to my wound. It is too sore. Should I? I had a lumpectomy and lymph node removal. The information about the T-shirts and undershirts is good. I need a little support, but bras hurt and since swelling went down, my surgical bra is too big. Thank you all for great information.

  • thisiknow
    thisiknow Member Posts: 88
    edited October 2019
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    This site gives some good threads on Radiation but couldn't find anything about boosts. I've searched a lot but can't find any info on them. Are they just a more targeted treatment, or a stronger one? Can someone explain why the boost/s are given. I'm supposed to have 12 Rad tx's starting Monday with 4 boosts at the end. Are boost better or worse (to take) than the standard Rad treatments?

    Thanks!

    "Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah" (Psa 62:8)

  • star2017
    star2017 Member Posts: 370
    edited October 2019
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    Boosts, at least for me, were additional treatment focused specifically on the scar, where there is a greater chance of reooccurrence.

  • star2017
    star2017 Member Posts: 370
    edited October 2019
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    Immediately after treatment, I applied aloe. Any other time I applied aquaphor.

  • mysticalcity
    mysticalcity Member Posts: 184
    edited October 2019
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    thisiknow: You should get more information from your Radiation Oncologist as it seems everyone defines boosts a bit differently depending on facility etc. But here are a couple of pages with some info.

    Boosts

    If you're having radiation after a lumpectomy, your initial radiation treatment will be directed to your whole affected breast for 3 ½ to 5 weeks. After that, you may receive an extra dose of radiation called a "boost." The boost directs radiation to the area where the lump or cancer cells were located, instead of at your whole breast.

    During your boost, you will receive the same amount of radiation that you got for your treatments. However, it will be aimed at a smaller area. There may be a break for a few days between the end of your radiation to your whole breast and the start of your boost. You may be treated on a different machine for your boost or change positions from lying on your stomach to lying on your back.

    https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/patient-education/radiation-therapy-breast-chest-wall

    https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-is-a-radiation-boost-for-breast-cancer-430383

  • thisiknow
    thisiknow Member Posts: 88
    edited October 2019
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    star... the lady-tech did say something about the boosts targeting the scars but everything was moving so fast I didn't have a chance to ask any followups.

    mysticalcity... appreciate your thoughts, and your links are priceless. Really quite simple pages explaining both the purpose/way of Radiation and Boosts. Thank you!

    I would suggest to the Mods that they may want to prioritize those links somewhere here easy to locate/search for newbies.

  • mysticalcity
    mysticalcity Member Posts: 184
    edited October 2019
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    thisiknow--also I just noted your diagnosis is DCIS/IDC. Here is some info on study of DCIS and improved outcomes with boosts for DCIS:

    https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/869479

    "A retrospective study involving 4000 patients with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) has demonstrated that a radiation boost after breast-conserving surgery plus whole-breast radiation therapy (WBRT) provides a clinically relevant reduction in local recurrence of 3.6% at 15 years.

    In the absence of a phase 3 trial, it is the strongest evidence to date for providing a boost to patients with this common breast abnormality that often develops into cancer.

    "This series represents the largest cohort to address the benefit of a boost in DCIS, with data from 10 institutions in the United States, Canada, and France," said Meena Moran, MD, lead study author and director of the radiation oncology breast program at Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale, New Haven, Connecticut."

  • slh1952
    slh1952 Member Posts: 8
    edited November 2019
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    Thanks for all the great tips. I have my consult visit with the RO on Monday and am trying to learn as much as possible to get ready for treatment. As a survivor of a urinary tract cancer, I am very cautious about what I ingest AND put on my skin, so I plan to use calendula and organic aloe, hemp oil and coconut oil, possibly with lavender essential oil. I'm also looking into oral curcumin (turmeric) and ginkgo biloba. Does anyone here have links to research on alternative medical approaches to preventing skin and other side effects from radiation? I will, of course discuss whatever I find with the RO, but I'd like to be able to cite studies, not random stuff from the web.

  • thisiknow
    thisiknow Member Posts: 88
    edited November 2019
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    mysticalcity ... that's great information. And encouraging. I'm half-way thru my 4 weeks of Rads now and the last 4 days will be boosts. I have two IDC's on the left and 1 IDC and 1 DCIS on the right so I guess they'll try to target just the 4 scars?

    Thanks for that good info!



  • redhead403
    redhead403 Member Posts: 65
    edited December 2019
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    Why not regular antiperspirant?

  • striveforhealth
    striveforhealth Member Posts: 59
    edited January 2020
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    Hi Mysticalcity. I appreciate that you shared the study info on improved outcomes with boosts for DCIS patients. I will be discussing this when I meet with Radiation Oncologist.

  • mysticalcity
    mysticalcity Member Posts: 184
    edited January 2020
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    I'm glad it was helpful. Best wishes to you on easy treatments and great outcomes. And a happy, healthy 2020 and beyond:)

  • mikamika
    mikamika Member Posts: 242
    edited January 2020
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    Hello,

    my RO suggested to try Biafine. Did anyone use it?


  • runner66
    runner66 Member Posts: 1
    edited March 2020
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    My tip is Don't panic. State of mind is important. I have exercised all my life hence, when I started radiation I was worried about keeping up my routine. I personally continued by 6 mile walk daily and made sure I got plenty of rest. It really wasnt bad- My last week got a little itchy but managed just fine.

  • martaj
    martaj Member Posts: 307
    edited March 2020
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    First radiation today. I'm sure it is to make mold and mark where radiation needs to be done. Seems like it never ends

  • Mersea47
    Mersea47 Member Posts: 2
    edited March 2020
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    thank you so much. This advice is very helpful. Starting rad after surgery in April. This is the most complete

    article I've read on the topic.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,285
    edited March 2020
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    Mersea, thank you for your post and welcome to Breastcancer.org! We're glad to hear that you found our Community helpful!

    Please, don't forget to fill out your diagnosis and treatment information on your profile. This will help other members know your situation better and offer the best support! To do this, click on 'My Profile on the top right of this page. Then click 'My diagnosis' and fill in your details. You can do the same for 'My treatments'.

    We hope this helps!

    Wishing you well,

    The Mods


  • mysticalcity
    mysticalcity Member Posts: 184
    edited April 2020
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    Interesting study on stress and radiation:

    Fight or Flight: Does Stress Make Radiation Therapy Less Effective?

    — Suppressing beta-receptor signaling enhanced tumor control in preclinical study

    https://www.medpagetoday.com/radiology/therapeuticradiology/86060?xid=nl_mpt_SROncology_2020-04-27&eun=g1237212d0r&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=OncologyUpdate_042720&utm_term=NL_Spec_Oncology_Update_Active
  • cm2020
    cm2020 Member Posts: 530
    edited April 2020
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    I start radiation in June. Thank you for this list! I also have chronic hives, that are flaring something awful and have been for a month. I am really hoping they are under better control by the time I start radiation. I am on Plaquenil for them but it takes 8 weeks to start working ( i had weaned off but 2 days before my lumpectomy they came back in full force) and am also on prednisone right now because they are so horrible that I need relief until the Plaquenil kicks in. Anyway, my radiation oncologist said he hasn't treated anyone with chronic hives but will monitor closely and we will figure it out as we go along if there are any issues.

  • BrandiE_LV
    BrandiE_LV Member Posts: 2
    edited August 2020
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    Hello everyone,

    I have done so much reading and am grateful for all of your insights. I am approaching my last chemotherapy treatment on 9/10 and Then will move on to radiation. We met with the RO before I even started chemo, post double mastectomy, and he said I will have 6w, 5d/week. I also have tissue expanders and will undergo the finishing touches of my reconstruction after radiation and healing. My recon doc gave me lots of advice for barrier sprays and moisturizer to protect my skin. I’m hoping they work.

    I’m wondering if the fatigue people experience during radiation is anything near what chemo fatigue has been like? I’ve not been sick, just exhausted as time has gone by. I’ve had 3 out of 4 sessions. I walk or jog 4 miles a day and drink well over a gallon of water too. I sleep enough and have a healthy’ish diet (not depriving myself right now!).

    Thanks for any input you can provide about what to expect. I’m grateful.

  • cocob122
    cocob122 Member Posts: 2
    edited August 2020
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    Hi BrandiE. Congrats on approaching your last chemo! That is an important milestone. Each of our cases is different, however, the very very slight fatigue that I experienced with radiation was a mere fraction of what I experienced with chemo. In fact, during radiation, while I did experience occasional fatigue I was always wondering if it was related to rads, or simply that I didn't sleep well the night before.

    Again, we are all different but I sailed through radiation easily. The most tedious part was driving to the hospital every day. I hope the same for you.

  • martaj
    martaj Member Posts: 307
    edited September 2020
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    BrandiE, I didn't experience any fatigue with radiation. I felt great, compared to chemo which I so sick and tired all the time. 6 months worth!!!! Only thing with radiation, I experienced 2nd degree burns along my clavicle. It was the last 2 weeks of radiation and so painful. I used many lotions and potions, finally had to use burn cream buy prescription. Silver something or other. That helped greatly. Radiation finished in May, so this summer made sure I used 100 sun screen.

  • BrandiE_LV
    BrandiE_LV Member Posts: 2
    edited September 2020
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    Thank you all for your feedback and sharing your experiences. I am so grateful to have found this forum.