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Topic: Skin Cream during radiation

Forum: Radiation Therapy - Before, During, and After —

What to expect from treatment and ways to cope with side effects.

Posted on: Jul 27, 2007 06:21AM

CarrieDee wrote:

Figured I would post this as a separate topic so people wouldn't have to dig to find out the information.

What was the best cream/gel used during radiation?

I was just given a sample of Radiogel- has anyone used this?

I tried the Aquaphor and found it sticky and my skin actually felt more itchy after I applied it.

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Sep 6, 2009 03:27PM j414 wrote:

Thank you - I really thought the system/process through. I didn't want to worry about details once the treatment started.

The xeroform kept my breast cooler. Before I started using them I would slather on a lot of lotion (b/f acquafor I was using Remedy Medline (doctor recommend for day use b/c it's not sticky like acquafor) but it created a paste effect and my t-shirt would stick to my breast- basically suffocating my skin and drying up the lotion. The xeroforms, on the other hand, are paper thin (they are meant to be a "second skin"), saturated in burn jelly (I just add acquafor in for extra hydration) and are specifically designed for burns (it's the dressing that hospitals use for skin grafts and burn wound care - see the link at the bottom of the page).  When I first told my radiologist that I was going to start using them (my friend is a dermatologist and he suggested it), she said it was probably overkill. Maybe she was right, but I don't think I would have had the same excellent result without them.  I used two 5 x 9 - I would put them (and the cortizone and acquafor) on immediately after my treatment, take it off for a couple of hours when I get home from work, put it back on b/f bed and remove it in the morning (I received radiation b/f going to the office in the morning). I used two new bandages each day and put one on the top of my breast, the other on the bottom (covering the crease under my breast, which tends to be a sore spot for most women). Each bandage cost around $2.00 from a pharmacy in my neighborhood, but they are available for much less on the web (see link at bottom of the page). As an aside, my three side effects were skin breakdown (dry/itching/peeling skin/sandpaper texture), "warm" breast and swollen breast.  My doctor said she would only temporarily stop treatments for skin breakdown (peeling, blistering), so I was really focused on keeping my skin intact.  My breast was warm, and still is (just a little bit), but that only bothered me after the third or fourth week and now it doesn't bother me at all. For warm breast I used an ice pack (half ice, half water, always on my shirt (never on my skin)) on and off throughout the day or when I got home at night. Between the xeroform/acquafor lubrication and the cooling ice pack, I felt fine.  I picked up a great ice pack from Duane Reade - large and cotton - covered my whole breast (kept one in my apartment and at my office). The most annoying side effect was the swelling. I am a small B cup and I swelled to a large "C". It wasn't painful, it just felt heavy, like I was carrying a water balloon in my chest.  It would subside slightly over the weekend, and then resume on Mondays. I started limiting my sodium intake two weeks into treatment and would take a couple of alleves (or any anti-inflammatory will work) when it was worse than usual. I'm two weeks out and the swelling is just about gone and my skin is only slightly tinted and it's really soft again. Also, I think the constant lubrication helped fade my lumpectomy and sentinel node scar. My lumpectomy scar went from an angry red line to a very thin white line and the sentinel node is white with a very slight tint of red outline outlining the white. Overall, it looks significantly better than I thought it would at this point. My best advice is to plan everything out, which you are doing, so you are already ahead.

  • - Don't use under-wire bras - opt for t-shirts or very soft cotton/no underwire(e.g. fruit of the loom) bras in a bigger size (larger size for the swelling)
  • - use a really mild unscented soap on the area being radiated (e.g. dove), gently apply the soap (never rub) and pat dry
  • - no sun exposure at all to the area. If you are going to be outside during the day, triple layer the area. On an overcast day I spent a couple of hours outside with just the xeroform and a cotton t-shirt and I definitely felt a burn after wards.
  • - try to get some extra sleep. Overall, Ididn't feel fatigued, but I was slightly more tired at the end of the day and getting to bed an hour earlier really helped with that. I also felt very achy (neck, upper back, arms) - like I had the flu - for the first week of treatment. I wasn't expecting it, so I was a bit panicked at first. I asked my doctor about it and she said it was probably stress, but I didn't feel stressed and I asked other women in the waiting room and they had the same experience for the first couple of days, so I'm not sure. I took some alleve and it eventually subsided after the first week.
  • - Constant lubrication

On a scale of 1 to 10, (1 being completely painless, 10 being the most pain possible), I would rate radiation at a 3.  I never had any pain, just some discomfort. You will be okay and the six weeks will go by very fast.  Best, j.

Article re: use of xeroform for skin grafts

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8537426 

 Links to buy the 5x9 xeroforms.

http://www.google.com/products?q=kendall+xeroform&scoring=p

Dx 4/2009, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 6, 2009 03:55PM j414 wrote:

MTG,

I should have put this in my post  - Xeroforms are widely used for burn care, so most medical supply stores should carry them. Maybe you can try calling a couple of stores in your neighborhood first.

best, J

Dx 4/2009, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 6, 2009 10:54PM MTG wrote:

j414 -  Thanks for info and the google link. I think it's great that these are used for burn wound care. It may be swatting at a fly with a sledge hammer but hell, there's no doubt that fly will be one dead sucker. I'd rather err on the side of caution. Since I've got plenty of time, I'll likely order the Xeroforms from one of the medical supply companies on the internet. Might as well save money where I can. Am I correct that you reapply the same two after your "airing out" break ? Also, tell me please, how do they attach ? I'm guessing I also need to buy medical tape ?

M Dx 6/30/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 7, 2009 01:05AM j414 wrote:

Yes, generally I would apply the same two (after the airing out break) and start fresh the following morning.  Generally, the bandages are replaced every couple of days, but I opted for every day. I didn't use any tape - didn't need to. The gauze/bandages are very thin, so they mold to the skin and the petroleum (already on the gauze) and acquafor create a suction effect - they even held at night.  But a word of caution, I choose to be tattooed for the whole breast radiation (3 small dots, which I'm having lasered off in two weeks) - I wanted to be able to moisturize without limitation. But for the booster sessions the techncian drew the line with a marker and the xeroform bandage basically wiped most of the marker off by the end of every day. She had to redraw the lines every morning - it took her less than a minute to do so, and she didn't mind doing it. J

Dx 4/2009, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 7, 2009 08:02AM erika-canada wrote:

Hi:

Just wanted to add my two bits. I had a mastectomy and lymph removal, with a very large area to radiate. I had tatoos (too many to count) only S.E. was tiredness. Glaxol was the only lotion I used recommended by a Nurse! Am fair skinned but didn,t burn or itch, it was super.

Compared to Chemo (Taxotere), Rads was truly a piece of cake.

Have a great day, my dear ladies.

Erika

p.s. had been out of Country for 6 months. Because of computer glitch, lost my Private Messages.....please send again!!

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Sep 7, 2009 09:49AM NanaA wrote:

My onc asked that I only use biafine.  I would use 3 times a day.  Morning, after treatment at 1:00 and again before bed.  I had small breakdown at about treatment 22 under arm and under breast (size D)  finished the 25 regular and started the next week with boosts.  Within just over the first week of boosts the broken down skin has already healed to the place where there is no pain even when stretching to reach something.  I was surprised it healed so quickly.  7 more boosts to go that area looks like a just barely sunburn.  Have 3 more boosts this week because of holiday today and machine down this Friday and next Monday so will finish with last 4 Tues thru Friday next week.  Yeh!!  I would not hesitate to just use the biafine again.  I do think that getting you skin in good condition and moist before starting rads is a good idea, just don't use anything on it within 6 hrs of treatment.   Hug Annette

Dx 1/15/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Sep 7, 2009 10:26PM MTG wrote:

J414-  I'm going to have to test carefully before I risk wiping out the ink. But if I keep the Tegaforms on the ink, this may work.

Of course, since nothing ever seems to be black and white these days I did just find a lttle discussion amongst nurses which raises some questions about using the Xeroforms proactively on healthy skin. As I read, "One side of the discussion is that it can be applied to the entire area of the wound including the good skin surrounding the wound without any problems to the good skin. And the other side of the discussion is that it should not be applied to good skin because it traps moisture on the good skin making it "mushy" and susceptible to further breakdown." http://allnurses.com/wound-ostomy-continence/proper-application-xeroform-213792.html Since I know "breakdown" is an issue, this seems to merit consideration. Of course, your first hand experience says quite a lot. Seems like so many tecnical things to be considered, we have to become our own experts.

M Dx 6/30/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 7, 2009 10:27PM - edited Sep 13, 2009 12:34AM by MTG

This Post was deleted by MTG.
M Dx 6/30/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 12, 2009 04:23PM - edited Sep 12, 2009 04:24PM by j414

MTG,

I have small breasts and still two xeroforms did not cover the entire radiated area, so I don't think I touched any "healthy" skin (rads hits the areas surrounding the breast too).  I am almost three weeks out and my skin looks fantastic - it's just slightly off tint and I'm very, very fair. As an aside, a week after I finished radiaiton (and the oncologist told me to wait a week) I started drinking 2 "green juices" a day (an antioxidant overload) - an ounce of broccoli sprouts a day (Hopkins research shows it stops the growth of breast tumors) and a kale juice (which was not that tasty), which is also very powerful antioxidant (both ground up in my vitamix with lemon juice and distilled water).  I am a big fan of antioxidants and this protocol may have helped the healing/cell regeneration too.

Your skin is going to get red and itch, and your breast will likely swell, it won't be pretty, but please don't despair, it will quickly bounce back. I was really upset by the last two weeks - I always had perfect skin and now I was red and swollen (but no pain, just a little discomfort). My doctor repeatedly said it would significantly improve when treatment ended and I held on to that. And it did. We have the same pathology and we are very lucky. I'm not happy about having BC in my thirties, but I am so damn grateful that it was small with estrogen/prog receptors, her2-. In six weeks it will all be over - hold onto that.  Best, J.

Dx 4/2009, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 13, 2009 12:33AM MTG wrote:

J414

Thanks for the additional info and encouragement.

Although I'm older than you (about to hit late 40s in a week and a half), I'm not at all happy about the swelling, burning, etc.  I'm running around at fashion week here in NY, surrounded by attractive people  (feeling kindof cute myself, I must admit) and really discouraged by the idea of what's to come. But this too shall pass.

As for "green juices", two of my degrees are from Hopkins so I definitely think their studies are the tops. Although I dont see that Kale juice will be in my future, I will research other dark green vegetables and eat/drink lots. In fact I need to check with my doctor soon as to what constiutues overload anyway. The vast majority of my food is and has for a while been fruit and vegetables and although others on this Board have said that antioxidants from food pose no problem, I eat such major quantities that I'd feel most comfortable checking with my doctor.

Thanks again for your advice. 

M Dx 6/30/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 13, 2009 04:34PM - edited Sep 13, 2009 04:38PM by MTG

Xeroforms on Sale

J414 and Those who may buy Xeroforms - I did some research and found several sales on Xeroforms 5" x 9" Petroleum/Petrolatum Gauze Dressing

From AllegroMedical.com - Box of 50 for $61.55 -$9.23 [Save 15%, (15sep09, BUT this sales ends Midnight Monday)] = $52.32 + $10.95 ship = $63.27 for 50 or  $1.26 each http://www.allegromedical.com/browse/browseProducts.do?searchPhrase=xeroform+dressing

From IMed.com -  at $67.40 for a box of 50 - $8.08 with 12% Off (code: MEDNET12) = $59.31 +$6 ship =  $65.31 or  $1.31 eachhttp://www.imed.com/shop/detail.cfm/sku/K1155

From WheelChairMedical.com -  A box of 12  for $16.15  x 4 = $ 64.60 for 48 w/ 5% off (code: FREE5) = $61.37  + $5.95 ship = $67.32 for 48 or  $1.40 each. http://www.wheelchairmedical.com/p-67150-xeroform-petroleum-gauze.aspx

In case anyone sees this after the above sales have expired, simply google "Xeroform Gauze dressing" as J414 suggested and then to save even more $$$, plug in a few of the store names into Retail Me Not (http://www.retailmenot.com/) to see if the stores have any coupon codes which may improve the price..... The really great thing is this site works for non medical, non BC purchases as well so we can save money when we feel like being indulgent and rather than practical.

M Dx 6/30/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 14, 2009 03:50PM j414 wrote:

MTG-

Great prices! The pharmacy in my hood initially charged $2.00 each and then $2.10.  I'm going to order a box. I'm still using them until the last bit of "tint" is gone and I spoke with my Derm about "resurfacing" my SNB scar, which will probably take a couple of sessions - so I will need them!

J

Dx 4/2009, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 15, 2009 08:33PM Irishred wrote:

Did anyone else get an e mail wanting a rating on MY Girls Radiation Cream?  Well I did and I rated it a 1 (lowest rating)  I said it feels good but really did nothing to stop the burns.

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Sep 15, 2009 08:46PM desdemona222b wrote:

Irishred -

Have you told your rads technician/doctor you're using hydrocortisone cream?  I don't think you're supposed to go anywhere near that stuff during rads, especially with your skin breaking down like that.  I'm pretty sure it will only make things worse.

No one has mentioned lidocaine gel, which my rads onc gave me during my treatments.  It helps the discomfort quite a bit, and it is the only thing I used during rads.  I don't think anything actually prevents skin breakdown, but I do know that one reason they tell you not to use ANY creams or ointments that are not prescribed is because they actually make skin breakdown worse and more likely. 

Dx 11/17/2001, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Sep 15, 2009 10:03PM - edited Sep 15, 2009 11:42PM by MTG

Wow ! I thought hydrocortisone/ cortisone creams were ok !!!! I've just completed my pre-radiation shopping and picked up a tube thinking that's what every uses to deal with itching. Now I'll be sure to check it with my doctor. Of course, I'm feeling a bit foolsh now since I already know that everything should be okayed by the doctor, I just thought this was like aloe and ok without asking. A dumb move but you ladies have my back (even without knowing it).

M Dx 6/30/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 15, 2009 10:20PM - edited Sep 15, 2009 10:24PM by desdemona222b

This Post was deleted by desdemona222b.
Dx 11/17/2001, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Sep 15, 2009 10:20PM - edited Sep 15, 2009 10:23PM by desdemona222b

Not trying to make anyone feel bad, MTG, just trying to help.  But, there's a reason the docs tell you not to use any creams or lotions, period, for the duration of your rads therapy.

For one thing, you can't prevent burns (or skin break-down, as the professionals call it), but you can definitely make it a lot worse by disregarding your doc's advice and using moisturizers, etc.   A lot of women just can't or won't accept that fact - it's not like you're going out in the sun or anything.  The radiation works by killing cells  - all cells - but gradually.  It kills both healthy and cancerous cells, and the healthy cells regenerate relatively fast.  So, any itching is caused by that and goes way beyond the surface of the skin - the entire breast is radiated through and through which means the itching is also coming from the dermis.  Also, moisturizers and creams tend to hold in the heat from the radiation.  Lastly, the skin becomes so insulted from the treatments that even gently rubbing it can cause painful breaks and blisters, which is why they tell you not to wash the breast.  You want to avoid even the gentlest rubbing on the skin, and they give you Lidocaine in gel form instead of cream form so you can just gently spread it without really affecting the skin. 

Hydrocortisone shouldn't be used on the skin on a regular basis even if one is not going through radiation therapy.  It can clear up short-term issues like rashes and itching, but using it regularly is bad even for healthy skin. 

Dx 11/17/2001, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Sep 15, 2009 11:41PM MTG wrote:

desdemona22 - Please, please, please, I appreciated reading the post about hydrocortisone and your follow up post as well. For me, feeling "dumb" is not at all the same thing as feeling "bad"; it simply means being reminded how much there is to learn and to keep straight and how thankful I am that  I can rely on you and others who've gone down this path before me. I never expected this sort of education but I am learning tons !
M Dx 6/30/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 16, 2009 10:05PM ccbaby wrote:

MTG...My radiologist told me today to use hydrocortisone cream if I start having bumps and /or itchiness. He said any brand will work. If it gets worse, he will give me a prescription for Silverdine. I have been using calendula lotion (homeopathic) and told him about it. He looked it up and said it was ok to use. My skin is doing really good so far and I have had 14 treatments and get zapped in 5 different places.
~Christy~ left side mastectomy/TE February 2009 Finished TC July 2009 Rads finished Oct 2009 Stage 1 lymphedema Removed failed TE, HIP flap surgery Dec 2009 Finished Herceptin March 2010 Second stage March 2010 Third stage revisions Oct 2011 Dx 1/29/2009, IDC, 3cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 1/13 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Sep 16, 2009 10:47PM MTG wrote:

ccbaby -  I also checked with my radiologist today and she had no problem with me using 1% cortisone if I have any itching and also offered me a prescription if I wanted something stronger. With that said, I still appreciate desdemona22's input re: the risks of overuse of hydrocortisone. The thing I love about this site is that there's tons of info and points of view; all of it gives me the tools to make informed decisions.

For whatever reason, they didn't start rads today but simply did films. Tomorrow the process starts for real.  

M Dx 6/30/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 16, 2009 11:32PM nonnie wrote:

I finished 30 radiation treatments Dec.30.  Sometimes, I would apply simple olive oil to my breast, especially after a bath at night.  Very soothing.  My instructions said not to use talc, but corn starch was okay.  I never had more than a bad sunburn.

What I found most useful was the lycra camisol.  I always wear underwire bras, and was uncomfortable braless.  The ones I found were shaped, with a "cup" formed into them.  Sometimes, I would put on a bra over the cami!  Another trick that helped, try wearing your bra inside out.  The seams are smoother, and the fabric often is, too.  I did that for a few months after treatment.

Hope this helps someone!

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Sep 17, 2009 10:42AM - edited Sep 17, 2009 10:43AM by ibjennifer125

I am 3 weeks out of rads and used Silvadene, prescribed by my Dr. I tried a couple of sample topical creams they gave me but nothing eased my discomfort like Silvadene. I would slather the section that was raw and weepy with Silvadene then cover with a bandage ( the ones I had left over from my mastectomy) the bandages are meshy so the wound would still get air. That's the ONLY relief I found. 

Hang in there my friends.....it rads WILL end soon. There's no tougher gals in the world than breast cancer sufferers.

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face. You must do thing which you think you cannot do. Eleanor Roosevelt Dx 10/30/2008, IBC, 2cm, Stage IIIA, 6/10 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Sep 17, 2009 05:34PM desdemona222b wrote:

Okay, I stand corrected on the hydrocortisone 1% - I guess it's such a weak concentration that it won't affect the skin the way stronger concentrations are used.  My whole thing is just make sure your doctor approves - I've seen women talking about using creams and lotions in spite of what their doctors tell them before and it really bothers me because there is a reason they tell you to stay away from creams and lotions.

For what it's worth, I did really well during my rads too until maybe the last week when it got to be very painful.  I wouldn't let them put tape on my breast (they wanted to leave it there throughout the treatment) and the last couple of treatments someone stuck a small piece of tape on my breast.  The skin seemed to holding up pretty well, so a couple days after treatment I removed it and all the skin came up with it.  Just a caution for you ladies.

I would also like to strongly advise using cornstarch VERY liberally and often on the underside of your breast, especially once you have a burn.  I ended up with a nasty keloid under there that is making me crazy - it bothers me so badly and it just keeps on growing, not to mention that it's just gross.

Best of luck to all of you - this may seem like the longest 6-7 weeks of your life but you WILL be finished and when that happens you can breathe a sigh of relief. 

Dx 11/17/2001, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Sep 17, 2009 05:39PM desdemona222b wrote:

nonnie -

I wore either extremely large athletic bras or extremely tight workout tanks (the kind with lots of spandex).  This is  SO important for ladies to know about when they're going in.  Going braless can actually cause the kind of damage I was talking about that I have because of skin rubbing on skin, but bras are out of the question.  So getting something long, like your camisoles without the shelf or the other stuff I mentioned is critical.

Dx 11/17/2001, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Sep 17, 2009 07:15PM LRM216 wrote:

CCBaby  where do you get Calendula lotion?  I am totally naive about anything related to the rads and will be starting in early Oct; however, my radiologist told me I could use aloe, or any "good" cream that I wanted.  I don't know what to get or where.  Thanks,

Linda

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to end, it's about learning to dance in the rain ... Age 62 at diagnose Dx 2/23/2009, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 3/6/2009 Lumpectomy: Right Chemotherapy 4/24/2009 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxol (paclitaxel), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 10/20/2009 Breast
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Sep 17, 2009 11:08PM ccbaby wrote:

LRM....You can find it at a health food store and you should buy your aloe vera gel there too because it will be pure and won't contain alcohol. Look for 99% or 100% pure alore vera gel on the bottle.  You can also order either one at a online health food store too like the Vitamin Shoppe.
~Christy~ left side mastectomy/TE February 2009 Finished TC July 2009 Rads finished Oct 2009 Stage 1 lymphedema Removed failed TE, HIP flap surgery Dec 2009 Finished Herceptin March 2010 Second stage March 2010 Third stage revisions Oct 2011 Dx 1/29/2009, IDC, 3cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 1/13 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Sep 17, 2009 11:49PM LRM216 wrote:

Thanks, CC, I will go this weekend.  Appreciate your help.

Linda

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to end, it's about learning to dance in the rain ... Age 62 at diagnose Dx 2/23/2009, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 3/6/2009 Lumpectomy: Right Chemotherapy 4/24/2009 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxol (paclitaxel), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 10/20/2009 Breast
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Sep 18, 2009 02:21PM Irishred wrote:

I had trouble finding any type of cream my radiologist or the people on here recommended.  I order MY GIRLS Radiation Cream online, while it feels good dont think it really did much.  I also order Pure aloe vera online, and keep it in the frig,  it does feel good going on.  My rad dr gave me samples of Miaderm, which is also nice.  I have had one major problem under my arm, which kept me off rads for two weeks but silvadeen healed it nicely.

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Sep 19, 2009 12:11AM MTG wrote:

Is anyone else having an issue with the creams semi drying on the skin and either flaking or just feeling gritty rather than simply absorbing ?  I'm using calendula or sometimes aloe instead  (also sometimes just Miaderm which doesn't seem to have the same problem) and thinking I'm appplying it too thicky. Or is it something else ?  This isn't a problem now but may be if/when my breast starts getting sore and I wont want to wipe it down before rads. Thanks.

M Dx 6/30/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 20, 2009 10:22PM YoungOldMe wrote:

There are a lot of posts on this topic!  But, I know that when I was in rads, I read all the posts, so I'll post some of my experience. To me, the worst part was never knowing how bad it would get. It got bad, but had I known I wouldn't have trouble with "wet desquamation," I would have been less stressed about the redness, itching, and pain that I did have.  Once my skin started being uncomfortable, I spent as much time as I could staying home with my skin exposed to the air. I used a lot of products on it, too. I didn't want to use the petroleum products; oddly, all the ones the docs recommend have petroleum/methylparabens. These ingredients are controversial; probably OK but I still tried to avoid using them.  I bought Boiron calendula at Whole Foods (though it does have petrolatum), Burt's Bees After Sun Soother (Walmart), Country Comfort Herbal Savvy (Whole Foods), Egyptian Magic (online), and My Girl's Radiation Cream (online). I used plain aloe gel and even tried my own aloe plant, but the consistency wasn't easy to use. I got tired of the calendula and other salves that were thick and greasy and felt bad with clothes on. Everything helped a little, but of course the treatments are powerful insults to the skin. My Girl's was my favorite toward the end when the skin was the worst. My Girl's feels cool and gets absorbed and I felt it had safe ingredients. I thought the amount in the container was generous, and I was comfortable using as much as I wanted to use without feeling the need to scrimp. I used that and Burt's Bees for several weeks after completion of treatment. I finished the My Girl's. Now, several months out, I use some Burt's Bees if my skin feels a little dry or itchy. About My Girl's and the advertising on this message board - I do think the owner made some mistakes on this website; but when I contacted her in June, she was very nice to me. She rushed a jar of cream to me because I was going on a trip for a few days and felt desperately in need of "something better" to deal with the skin getting worse and worse. She told me how she found/created the cream, and she seems sincere in her efforts to help people with this product that she happened to find. It's a good product. I think trying different things can be helpful, in that you feel like you are doing something for your poor sad skin. I was surprised and disappointed that the docs and nurses had minimal knowledge about products, but I was impressed with the docs about everything else. I guess they know what to do when the skin needs medical care. I introduced the calendula and My Girl's to the radiation oncologist. I hope this is helpful for those reading it at the difficult time of therapy. Be well...

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