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All TopicsForum: Radiation Therapy - Before, During and After → Topic: Skin Breakdown - how long to heal?

Topic: Skin Breakdown - how long to heal?

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

Posted on: May 16, 2010 04:25PM

suzieq60 wrote:

Right near the end of my treatment (only 7 to go), the skin right in the crease under my unfortunately pendulous boob has started to breakdown. Has anyone else had this happen and how long did it take to heal? What treatment worked the best for you? I can't use anything other than burn gel until after the remaining boosts this week.

Sue

2nd diagnosis October 2010 - IDC 5.8mm node negative - missed on mammogram in October 2009 Dx 10/13/2009, ILC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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May 16, 2010 06:37PM precioustime wrote:

Suepen:  I had 33 RAD treatments.  It is all accumulative-- meaning that I didn't really have any skin reactions the first couple of weeks but near the end and especially "after" treatments had ended is where I experienced the worse skin side effects. 

For me- it took about 3 weeks after Radiation to where my skin started to heal-- for others it might not have taken so long?  I had a bollus placed on me for all 33 treatments in which I was told by the Oncologist that they were treating me like if I had skin cancer and wanted the skin to react.

I was given a prescription for Silvadene after about 3 weeks of having RADS in which I used ALOT of until I started seeing skin improvements.

Take Care-- This will soon be behind you.

Loretta

Dx 6/9/2009, IDC, Stage IIIC, Grade 2, 12/18 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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May 16, 2010 07:59PM suzieq60 wrote:

Thanks Loretta. I can't use anything other than the burn gel until the doctor okays it. I don't see her until Wednesday. 1 boost down 4 to go - then I can use something a bit more agressive to heal it.

Sue

2nd diagnosis October 2010 - IDC 5.8mm node negative - missed on mammogram in October 2009 Dx 10/13/2009, ILC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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May 16, 2010 08:36PM YramAL wrote:

Suepen-I had the exact same thing happen to me as happened to you. The skin under my rather large breast broke down during the 5th week of my 6 1/2 weeks of treatment. My rads nurse gave me some gel pads called Carradress and they saved my life. I sort of wedged them in under my breast, over the sore area, and kept them in place with my bra. Once I was switched to my boost treatments, that area got a break and healed in about a week. I'm 7 weeks out from rads now, and the area that was broken down is still discolored, but it is totally healed. Believe me, when I was going through it, I thought it was never going to heal. 

Ask for some gel burn pad dressings. They're about 3' by 3' and they were a lifesaver for me.

Mary 

Mary-Oncotype Score 11 Dx 12/7/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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May 16, 2010 08:47PM YramAL wrote:

Correction-the Carradress dressings are 4' by 4'. You can purchase them online, but they are quite expensive. I got them just for asking from my rads doctor. Here's the Amazon.com listing.

http://www.amazon.com/CarraDres-Hydrogel-Sheets-sheet-CRR101053Z/dp/B000K6LULC

Mary 

Mary-Oncotype Score 11 Dx 12/7/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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May 16, 2010 09:28PM suzieq60 wrote:

Mary,

Thanks for that. The nurse didn't mention them at all. I can ask the doc on Wednesday. Meanwhile the burn gel and a non stick dressing work just fine. Good to hear it won't take long to heal.

Sue

2nd diagnosis October 2010 - IDC 5.8mm node negative - missed on mammogram in October 2009 Dx 10/13/2009, ILC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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May 16, 2010 09:51PM Mouser wrote:

Suepen -

I got skin breakdown the last 10 days. Because i'd been told to expect it, i didn't bother to talk to anyone -- figured it was just part of the deal. My usual rad onc was off that week, the sub just suggested using cortisone cream and continuing the RadiaGel (which is what they like where i am. Turns out i was allergic to the RadiaGel, and i had a really nasty infection all over the rad breast by the time the regular rad onc saw me the last day of treatment. He freaked out... the thing that saved my life was TELFA pads, because they really don't stick! (The store-brand works just as well.)

Anyway, even with the raging allergy (i was also allergic to the topical antibiotic, because it had methyl paraben in it just like the RadiaGel) plus the infection -- which meant i didn't even start to heal until 1 week after the end of rads --  i was fully healed by 3 weeks post-rads.

Lesson - keep pointing out things that go wrong. Coping quietly is not always smart, so if you don't heal steadily, go abck and ask what's wrong!

mouser - IDC 0.4 cm + DCIS 1 cm, 2007; Stage 1, grade 2, ER+PR-, Her-; lumpectomy, rads, letrozole. More calcs 2008; mastectomy. Quit letrozole 10/09.
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May 17, 2010 12:56AM , edited May 17, 2010 01:02AM by suzieq60

Thanks Mouser - Good to hear you healed up quickly even with the allergies. I can't wait until I can use something a bit stronger. The doc will get a surprise when I see her - last week it was only a very small spot - now it's so much bigger. Don't worry, I'm certainly not the silent type.

I was going to have a go at her for having me treated lying on my back when I'm sure face down would have been better because of my floppy boobs. The nurse said I got the problem because of the fold under the breast and the radiation was going through 2 layers of skin.


Diagnosis: 10/13/2009, ILC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+

2nd diagnosis October 2010 - IDC 5.8mm node negative - missed on mammogram in October 2009 Dx 10/13/2009, ILC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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May 17, 2010 10:33AM YramAL wrote:

I don't know if facedown would make much of a difference. I know that my "floppy boobs" retained a lot of heat under them for quite some time after treatment each day and I'm sure that had something to do with the sore I got. I'm thinking it was pretty much unavoidable. As my rad tech said to me on my first day of treatment, "Large breasts, fair skin.....honey, you're a recipe for a skin reaction." She told me later, when my breakdown started to happen, that she hated being right.

Mary 

Mary-Oncotype Score 11 Dx 12/7/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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May 17, 2010 12:25PM , edited May 17, 2010 12:25PM by tweetybird

I had the same problem! My large girls and milky white skin started to break down just before I started the boosts. I thought it looked horrible, but the Doctor, and Nurse said it looked ok to them, and I didn't use any sort of creams, except for "Jeans Cream". I just had to wear a gauze bandage, so my bra wouldn't rub up against it. Thought my right breast looks odd with the "extra padding", but my husband said he couldn't even notice anything was there. It took about 3 weeks for everything to be "back to normal".

I just went to my breast surgeon last month, and she was amazed how great my radiated area looked. She said most people don't heal as good as I did. I lucked out with that!

Janet :) Dx 7/24/2006, DCIS, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+
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May 17, 2010 10:43PM YramAL wrote:

Suepen-

You'll know the area is starting to heal when you see patches of white under there(instead of angry red!). As my rad onc explained it, those white areas are the new skin growing-he called them "islands"-and before you know it, they start to expand, and pretty soon they meet, and voila! You are healed! 

Mary 

Mary-Oncotype Score 11 Dx 12/7/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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May 17, 2010 10:58PM Mouser wrote:

I read somewhere that it's better to do the rads the way they do MRIs and needle biopsies - face down, with the breasts hanging thru a hole. Might not work for sites near the chest wall, but it would have for me. but my clinic didn't do it that way. Breakdown started like yours - in the fold. But also on my nipple.

I don't think you should wait a week to "show off" the skin breakdown to the rad onc -- talk to the nurse tomorrow and ask if it still looks uninfected - or something. Just call attention to the fact that it's getting bigger pretty fast. The same nurse who told me to expect skin breakdown was horrified how bad mine was. She had told me, at the beginning, how she sat topless at home to try minimize discomfort, but when she saw mine, she said hers was never that bad! Thanks, now you tell me! Of course i should have asked sooner... only i thought it was normal because everyone got it (just like you're hearing, here...)

mouser - IDC 0.4 cm + DCIS 1 cm, 2007; Stage 1, grade 2, ER+PR-, Her-; lumpectomy, rads, letrozole. More calcs 2008; mastectomy. Quit letrozole 10/09.
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May 18, 2010 01:01AM suzieq60 wrote:

Mouser: It wasn't close to the chest wall. I reckon they couldn't be bothered setting up for face down treatment but too late to fuss over that now. I see the rad onc tomorrow. The nurse said today she had seen a lot worse. Doesn't make mine better though. It was a different nurse today and I had to wait ages for her to actually arrive. She did give me something that will help - a pair of disposable knickers. She cut the crotch and voila - a boob tube. I can wear it at night to hold the boob in place so the dressing will stay there - cool. The radiographers said it looked nice and dry under there.

Mary: Haven't got any white patches yet only grey ones - dead skin. After I've seen the doctor she might approve me being able to use zinc and castor oil cream which will heal it up quickly.

Sue

2nd diagnosis October 2010 - IDC 5.8mm node negative - missed on mammogram in October 2009 Dx 10/13/2009, ILC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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May 18, 2010 08:09AM suzieq60 wrote:

Mary: I redressed the area tonight and saw a white patch!!!! Hopefully I've turned the corner.
2nd diagnosis October 2010 - IDC 5.8mm node negative - missed on mammogram in October 2009 Dx 10/13/2009, ILC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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May 18, 2010 08:01PM suzieq60 wrote:

Saw the doctor today - she said it was from rubbing - not entirely in my opinion. Parts under the boob that have nothing to rub against are raw. Decided not to attack her. She did say I can now use the zinc and castor oil cream but I'll finish off the solosite first. Only 2 boosts to go!!!

2nd diagnosis October 2010 - IDC 5.8mm node negative - missed on mammogram in October 2009 Dx 10/13/2009, ILC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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May 18, 2010 09:01PM , edited May 18, 2010 09:05PM by hymil

Nearly there Sue! I'm liking the idea about the knickers as a boob-tube.....   :)

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May 18, 2010 09:42PM suzieq60 wrote:

Hymil, The knickers worked!!! I got a second pair from them as the boob tube did come down in the front. She said you could fashion straps out of bias binding, but I figure if I put 2 on that should stop it coming down. They are actually really great - better than paper ones.

2nd diagnosis October 2010 - IDC 5.8mm node negative - missed on mammogram in October 2009 Dx 10/13/2009, ILC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Jul 2, 2010 10:36PM Bethie1 wrote:

Hey Sue!!!!  My skin broke down also from the right side of right breast area and all of my underarm area.  I was scheduled for 33 rad treatments, and got them in, but the breakdown of the skin faster than it was healing caused me to have a week off--they just extended my treatment 1 week longer because of the breakdown.  I used Aquaphor vaseline based ointment, and my sister gobbed it on me to make sure it would soak in, and about 3/4's of it did.  It worked wonders, and was recommended by my rad onc. If any of you ladies are having this issue, get some of this ointment.

Dx 12/18/2008, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 5/24 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+
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Jul 4, 2010 04:25PM grdnslve wrote:

anyone have weeping areas in the burn?  i'm 1 week past rad treatment & i don't know if this is normal or the start of infection.  help!  it also is driving me nuts with cross between extreem itching & pain--i just want to scream!!!  rad onc has me putting silvadene cream on it, but that was before it peeled & became so raw. 

delayed diep june 27, 2011 Dx 11/19/2009, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 2/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 4, 2010 11:12PM KittyDog wrote:

I have weeping skin.  It has been doing that for a little over a week now.  Dr, said it was okay.  Hurts like you know what especially if you touch it and you have to touch it to put the meds on it.  Good Luck.

4 rounds of AC, 3 rounds of Taxol, UMX 3-29-10, 34 rounds of radiation.finished 7-2-10, ooph & hysterectomy 10-25-10, tamoxifen, femara now on to arimidex, Lymphedema arm, trunk, legs and now my neck...grrr Dx 11/24/2009, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, 1/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 4, 2010 11:24PM grdnslve wrote:

thanks abby--i was about to truly panic with tomorrow a holiday & the clinic closed. 

delayed diep june 27, 2011 Dx 11/19/2009, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 2/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-