St. Joseph Health System
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Care During Treatment

Skin Care
During radiation treatment, do not wash off the marks placed on the skin. These marks are necessary for accurate daily alignment of the treatment. Keep skin dry and exposed to the air whenever possible. The use of cornstarch, gently patted on the skin, will keep skin dry. Apply several times a day as needed. Also, wear loose fitting soft clothing that does not rub or irritate the area of treatment.

Unless necessary, do not use adhesive tape, including band aids or paper tape on the treated area. Do not use a deodorant or shave if the underarm area is being treated. Electric razors are recommended for the face. Do not use a pre-shave or after shave lotion. Avoid extreme hot and cold temperatures to treated areas. This includes heating pads, hot water bottles, ice bags, and heat producing ointments and lotions.

Carefully cleanse the treated area with warm water allowing the water to gently run over the area. Pat the area dry with a soft towel. Do not massage or rub the treated area vigorously. Avoid placing any powder, ointments, lotions, creams, cosmetics, or oils on the treated skin, unless directed by the doctor. Skin is to be free of any creams or ointments 4 hours prior to treatment. Ointments should only be used after treatment has been completed for the day.

Good nutrition is important during your treatment. Try to eat a healthy balanced diet to help your body repair itself. Dietary guidelines will differ for each person, so if this is a concern for you, a consult with our dietician can be made to assist you.

Fatigue associated with radiation therapy is usually caused by the body working hard to deal with the after effects of cancer cell destruction, the body repairing normal cells that are damaged by the radiation and a daily routine being interrupted by coming in for treatments five days in a row each week.

Some ways to to help deal with fatigue include attempting to get a good night's sleep with an occasional nap, no longer than an hour at a time, during the day, planning activities so that you do what is most important to you and asking others for help with the other activities that need to be done!


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