You may not have skin cancer, but when you are undergoing radiation treatments your skin can often take center stage. This is because your skin often takes, shows, and suffers the brunt of the radiation. It is important to do some research and ask the doctor what side effects and symptoms are likely to occur with your specific cancer and radiation treatments. This way, you can take precautions and prepare for what may lie ahead.
Changing Your Habits
Your daily routine will change. There is nothing to do about it. You will have treatments, possibly every day. You will probably not be feeling your best. It is a good possibility that the radiation will damage your skin, leave red patches, make you itch, and maybe even literally burn you. So because of these things, it is important to change the way you do things.
Wear gloves if you feel like doing dishes and other household chores. Hot water is no longer a friend to you. Extreme temperatures, hot and cold, will add to, or bring on, burning and other symptoms. You would also not want any detergents or cleansers to get on your skin and aggravate your treatment areas.
You need to moisturize, soothe, and nourish your skin. All of this can be accomplished with good products developed especially for cancer patients. Lotions, creams, balms, and serums provide vitamins, antioxidants, hydration, and probably, much needed relief. If you don’t apply lotion or another type of moisturizer every night at bed time, then you need to start. You also need to apply it in the morning or afternoon, opposite of when you have your treatments. Having soothing, cooling rollers on hand with aloe will help when treatment areas flare up.
Take quick showers with lukewarm water. Again, hot water is not your friend. Use gentle washes and shampoos that will not be harsh on your sensitive skin. When you dry off, use your towel gently and slowly, patting your skin, not rubbing. That would only inflame your already abused skin.
Avoiding the Sun
Radiation patients and the sun just do not go together. Avoiding the sun is another change that must be made, probably for the rest of your life. Even after treatments, sometimes years later, the sun will recall radiation burns where treatments were. If you do venture out, it must be under the guise of protective hats, clothing, and sunblock. Since your radiated skin is so much more sensitive, the UV rays will wreak havoc it, and can cause severe sunburn, even blistering.