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9 Self-care Tips When You are Undergoing Radiation Therapy

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9 Self-care Tips When You are Undergoing Radiation Therapy

   August 20, 2022

   HCG Nasik Team,


Radiation therapy is an important treatment strategy in cancer treatment. However, it may cause several side effects, especially at the treatment site. The patients should manage these side effects early to avoid complications.

Self-care Tips when you are Undergoing Radiation Therapy

1. Managing Fatigue: You may experience fatigue after radiotherapy that may range from mild to severe. It may be due to anemia, depression, anxiety, change in appetite, trouble sleeping, and reduced activity. Therefore, you must manage fatigue and prepare your body for the next treatment session. There are several ways to manage fatigue caused due to radiotherapy. Some of the tips are:

  • Do not engage yourself in continuous activity and take a rest between the activities.
  • Sleep for at least eight hours a day. Remain active during the day and relax at night to have a sound sleep.
  • Perform regular exercise.
  • Prioritize your activities and channel your energy to important work.
  • Do yoga, meditation, and prayer to remain relaxed during radiotherapy.

2. Skincare: You may have moderate to severe side effects related to the skin due to radiation therapy. Caring for your skin is vital to minimize side effects and accelerate healing. Some of the measures that may help you to keep your skin healthy are:

  • Do not rub or scrub the affected skin. Instead, wash with warm water and soap gently. Pat the skin dry.
  • Avoid using a hairdryer if you are undergoing radiation therapy on your head.
  • Wear loose clothes made of soft fibers. It will help reduce pressure and prevent irritation and skin damage due to rubbing or friction. Use cotton and silk clothes, and avoid denim and wool.
  • Avoid using powders, deodorants, creams, body oils, perfumes, ointments, or lotions. These substances may irritate the skin or alter your response to radiation therapy.
  • Avoid scratching or squeezing pimples.
  • Do not use ice packs or heating packs in the treatment area.
  • Discuss with your radiation therapy team about shaving the treatment area. Use an electric shaver in place of a blade razor to avoid cutting the skin. Avoid using hair removal creams or after-shave lotion at the site of treatment.
  • Do not remove any marking by the therapy team to indicate the site of radiation therapy treatment until the treatment is completely finished.
  • Avoid wearing a bra while undergoing radiation therapy for breast cancer. If you feel uncomfortable, ask the therapy team for other options. They may possibly advise you to wear a bra without an underwire.
  • After swimming, rinse your body well, as the chlorine present in a swimming pool may dry the skin.
  • You should protect your site of treatment from sun exposure. The treated skin is highly sensitive to solar radiation and may burn and cause irritation. Therefore, it is important to cover the skin with clothing or a hat. You may also consult with a radiation therapy doctor in Nashik about using sunscreen.

3. Oral Care: If you are undergoing radiation therapy on the neck and head area, you are at higher risk of cavities and tooth decay. There is also an increased risk of bleeding while undergoing dental work. Consult a dentist before you undergo radiation therapy on the head and neck. You may also have dry mouth, loss of taste, oral sores, and difficulty swallowing. Clean your teeth at least four times daily, especially after all meals. Floss twice a day and use fluoride toothpaste.

4. Eat a Healthy Diet: Maintain a healthy diet. Prefer to eat six to seven small meals throughout the day instead of three large meals. If you have diarrhea as a side effect, eat food rich in sodium and potassium, such as oranges, bananas, and peaches. Add fresh fruits and vegetables to the diet.

5. Seek Detailed Information from The Doctor: Get detailed information about radiation therapy and its side effects for your healthcare team. It will help you in preparing for the side effects in advance. If required, you may also write the specific tips your doctor gave during the consultation.

6. Seek Support: Do not shy from seeking support from doctors and nurses, friends, family members, other patients, and support groups. It will help you maintain positivity during your radiation therapy. You may also seek help from counselors who can help you understand and cope with the emotions.

7. Avoid Infections: In some patients, radiation therapy may reduce the number of white blood cells. These cells help in fighting against infection. If you have these side effects, avoid activities that increase your risk of infections, such as avoiding crowded places and not meeting with the unwell person.

8. Managing Other Side Effects: Apart from skin-related side effects, the patients may experience several side effects, depending upon the site of radiation therapy. Discuss with your doctor about managing the side effects.

9. Keep an Eye on Symptoms After Treatment: Several health issues may emerge months and years after the treatment. These are known as late side effects. The late side effects depend upon the site of treatment, and the amount of radiation received. Discuss the late side effects with the doctor that provides radiation oncology treatment in Nashik.

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