Side Effects of Radiotherapy - What to expect

MichelleGSMichelleGS Member Posts: 7
So, I've had 19 treatments with 6 more to go for breast cancer.  I had a lumpectomy so my breast is still mostly intact.  So far apart from being tired my skin has held up well with regular application of Sorbolene and a couple of days of  of Elocon for itchiness.  In your experience out there in breast cancer land is this as bad as it gets.  I am not having the 5 focused boost treatments as the radiologist doesn't believe it is necessary because of my pathology results so I'm just have the wide area radiation.  


  • JoeyLizJoeyLiz Member Posts: 30
    Sounds like you have done well with side effects but yes it's mainly fatigue and skin reaction. 
    The fatigue usually continues we say for as many weeks as you had treatment, so if you had 5 wks of treatment expect the fatigue to stick around for 5 wks after you finish. The skin reaction may peak around 2 wks after you finish so continue with the creams 
  • ZoffielZoffiel Member Posts: 876
    If you are at # 19 with no significant burns I'd say you are well on the way to a quick recovery as far as your skin is concerned. You may still get a bit of 'ouch' a couple of weeks after your treatment has  finished, but even if that happens, you should heal quite quickly

    The tiredness is more difficult to assess and, unlike scorched skin, can take a long time to resolve. I looked like a BBQ chook by rad 20 but wasn't that tired at the time and was comfortable driving the 210km round trip each day. Thing is, it all takes its toll and I still, four months later, have low energy. This is a shit of a disease. Marg xx
  • MichelleGSMichelleGS Member Posts: 7
    Love the BBQ chook reference Zoffiel.  I actually am developing the best tan of my life in a very strange place!  I do a 150km round trip each day to treatment.  I did radiation for 9 weeks last year for endometrial cancer so the tiredness thing I was expecting.  No burns that time either.  This time I was expecting the skin to break down more and some say it does int he last week and even the weeks after it.  Just hoping it won't  :)
  • LMK74LMK74 BrisbaneMember Posts: 505
    Hi @MichelleGS, I just finished 30 radiation treatments last Wednesday, the last 5 were boost to underarm area. My skin held up well despite being burnt mostly to my neck and collarbone. My skin is peeling and very sore, the itch is driving me insane lol. Could be worse I guess. Oh and the fatigue is hitting big time. All sucks this treatment.
  • RomlaRomla AdelaideMember Posts: 354
    I finished radiotherapy end of May - am very fair with dry skin and managed skin effects as well as fatigue OK. What I think is important to be aware of is there can be longer term side effects of radiotherapy months later like cellulitis , chest pains, osteoporotic effects on ribs and lymphodema. I did not know this from the literature provided but need to be known as can be worrying when it happens and there are things we can do to alleviate problems.
  • steplightlysteplightly Member Posts: 79
    I had a shorter time but higher dose radiation each time (same dose each day). I had no boost.  3 week total and had no burning, no redness or itchiness.  No Fatigue. It was called hyper fractionated and have heard about it from no one else on this site so not sure if anyone has had the same style.  I used moo goo straight after treatment and have kept using it ever since (now 3 months post). Its really wonderful cream and I have managed to get sample tubes donated to the radiation clinic I attended on the gold coast.  (about 100 available).  
  • JoeyLizJoeyLiz Member Posts: 30
    @steplightly the  hyperfractionated course is only suitable for some women and so is not as widely used. Moo Goo is a great cream, well done and Thankyou for getting those samples!
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