Radiotherapy prevents cancer cells from multiplying and destroys them with radiation, but it sometimes has a few side effects (which are becoming increasingly rare!). So here are our little tips to prevent and relieve possible pain and other side effects of radiotherapy. All you need to continue to feel beautiful and well in your body! 🙂
Prepearing before the radiotherapy session
In general, before the session, it is imperative not to apply any product (cream, lotion, etc.) to the area to be treated. The area must be completely clean and dry in order to receive the best possible treatment. Your little session of self-massage with moisturizing cream will therefore have to wait until the end of the session! 🙂
Soothing after the radiotherapy session
When the skin is exposed to rays that are more penetrating than the sun’s rays, it can redden, become sensitive (like a sunburn), darken or dry out. These are the main side effects of radiotherapy. To soothe these irritations, here is a non-exhaustive list of the things you’ll need to pay attention to:
– Avoid shaving for a while
– Stop, as much as possible, using deodorant, perfume or alcoholic lotions that are very aggressive for the skin.
– Avoid chlorinated pools
– Limit sun exposure on your fragile skin (without staying locked up at home ☺) for at least 3 months after the end of treatment.
– Wear soft cotton clothes!
– If there is a wound, consult your doctor and generously apply a soothing and healing ointment, if he recommends it.
– Dry your skin by gently patting it dry with a towel.
– Wash with a mild soap-free product such as shower oil.
– And shower with lukewarm water (we definitely want to hear you singing!)
Irradiation of the mouth and neck
Irradiation of the salivary glands during a treatment on the mouth can sometimes lead to dryness due to a lack of saliva. When bothersome symptoms appear, the first reflex is to report them to your radiotherapist to prevent weight loss and to find pleasure in eating again.
Here are some recommendations that are often given to manage these side effects of radiotherapy:
– Keep the oral cavity moist: drink regularly and make non-alcoholic mouthwashes (follow your doctor’s prescription).
– Sucking cold foods such as sorbets or ice cubes, chewing gum… give yourself a treat to activate salivation!
– Avoid alcohol and tobacco consumption.
– To avoid burning yourself, eat food that is not too hot, irritating or acidic (avoid spices, garlic, vinaigrette, etc.).
– If you have difficulty swallowing, multiply small meals, snacks (yes, yes, you heard me right, it’s finally okay to snack! :)) and eat dairy products and soft foods (soups, purees, rice, tender vegetables).
Radiation on the chest and abdomen
For the thorax and abdomen, increasing meal frequency and drinking water in large quantities (about 1.5 liters) are also recommended. Also, it is advised to:
- Avoid eating a few hours before or after the session.
- In the case of abdominal irradiation, prefer a diet low in residues to limit the risk of diarrhea. Therefore, eat very little fresh fruits or vegetables. (A good excuse to leave spinach to others 😉 )
- In the case pain in the esophagus appears, your radiotherapist can prescribe a local anesthetic gel and pain killers such as anti-nausea, anti-diarrhea, etc… in short, all you need to relieve these discomforts.
Radiation on the skull
Les rayons sur le crâne peuvent, eux, entrainer une chute des cheveux et, plus rarement, quelques difficultés à se concentrer. Pour aborder ce changement physique avec sérénité, vous pouvez consulter notre article sur comment bien se préparer à la chute des cheveux. 🙂
Rays on the skull can lead to hair loss and, more rarely, some difficulty concentrating. To approach this physical change with serenity, you can read our article on how to prepare for hair loss. 🙂
Irradiation of the pelvis
Urinary or digestive problems and pain may occur during treatment in the pelvic area.
– It is then recommended to drink 2 to 3 liters of water per day.
– It is also very important to avoid alcohol, tobacco, coffee, tea and spices that can irritate the bladder.
How to overcome treatment fatigue
To limit fatigue, don’t hesitate to get help from a family member or a professional, even when you think you can manage the daily tasks alone. Treatments require a lot of energy, and it is therefore very important to know how to preserve yourself and allow yourself moments of relaxation just for you! 🙂
Finally, remember that as soon as you begin to feel discomfort, it is important to tell a member of the nursing staff who will be able to advise you and find the right solutions to relieve you. Note also that these side effects are not systematic and often disappear a few months after the end of the treatments!
And there you have it. All that’s left to do is write down the little “tips and tricks” to relieve your own feelings of discomfort and start every day… lightly and with a smile 🙂