Radiation Burn on skin...suggestions?

Hi all;

I have three more weeks to go through radiation and am developing a pretty bad skin rash and burn where I am being treated.

They gave me some small samples of "Aquaphor" ointment, and I also bought an Aloe Vera plant so I could use the natural juice from the plant over the burns...also tried breaking open a Vit E capsule and using it. Nothing has really helped so far.

Anybody have any sugestions? At this rate, if I don't find something, I will have open wounds by the end of treatment.

Thanks, Ellen

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Hi Ellen,
I just finished radiation two weeks ago. I had the same problem and tried a few ointments and lotions......they didn't work.... I ended up just using ivory soap...which dried up the rash some, it never cleared up, but did not open, and I was able to complete treatment.

If the rash was itching I used a cream called Alba Botanica, original, unscented, it's an all natural product. I found at a local health store. They have a web site listed on the product, in case you want to try it, not sure if you can order on line, but here it is avalonorganics.com.

Mary Ann

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Hi Ellen,

It would be good to ask the radiation onc or nurse about what is okay to use during radiation. Some creams/lotions/gels/etc. can interfere with the radiation, or so I was told 9 years ago. I found aloe vera worked great for my radiation burn, but I didn't use it until after treatment ended. I used whatever was recommended to me during radiation.

Good luck!


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Dear Ellen--

The radiation techs gave my husband samples of Aquaphor. His skin was blistering and itchiing like the devil.

We never used the Aquaphor, for shortly after he was given the samples, his radiation oncologist recommended Cortaid. We purchased Cortaid Advanced, and it has the "wow" factor for us. Literally dried the blisters up overnight.

I apply the Cortaid nightly. It not greasy, nor has any odor. My husband's skin is slightly discolored, but otherwise perfect in every way.

Best regards - Debbie

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Hi Ellen -

I had 33 rad treatments and I had horrible buring to the areas. My radiologist prescribed a cream Biafine - it is manufactured by OrthoNeutrogena and it did the trick for me and I also used Aquafore at night.

To prevent the rubbing of my clothing I used sterile non-stick pads to cover the areas and they seemed to help. The worst of it was after the treatments were complete and then the itching started - but remember, itching means healing.

I also took vicodin for the pain.


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Hi - Bob really suffered from his radiation burns - chest and back. The only thing that gave him relief was 'CoolMagic Gel Sheets'. We tried all kinds of ointments and other gels but these really made it possible for him to continue the radiation treatments. He only had another two weeks to go (33 treatments in all) when his skin was raw. They come in various sizes. We hope they will work as well for you. Good Luck!

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I worked with my naturopath, and many folks I know have used this combination also. I had the maximum amount of radiation a human can get without being killed -- I was stage iv, literally in the death process at the time (now in remission, since 8/04). I was concerned about burning, given my very fair skin -- I don't tan, I "burn & fluff."

Go into radiation clean. Leave, go to the dressing room, and SLATHER on calendula gel. Find a product that has no or very little petroleum; you want only the calendula. (And, if the burns get really bad (blisters pop, raw burns), find dried calendula blossoms, boil in water and soak clean cloths and apply wet. These poultices bring good relief and healing.)

Before dinner, apply aloe -- again, SLATHER. Either raw, or gel or liquid. You want only aloe, nothing added. Mostly this is available only in a health store, in the refrigerator section -- ask for the kind you could drink.

When going to bed, SLATHER on vitamin E -- available as a get. You want only vitamin E, nothing else added. Don't get the applicator with a roller, it hurts. And you may likely have open wounds; I did and many others also. But with proper care, you'll be able to get through the course of treatment. Don't be concerned about not getting wounds. You can manage even those. This is a daily effort, not an overnight cure, and we all live it. It's a choice between managing the secondary effects, or abandoning the treatment.

Wear soft cotton Ts -- my daughter found a few at Goodwill and Value Village.

If/when it gets really bad, find the "bandages' that are gel-based. Do not get the kind that have alcohol or other stuff in them; just the healing gel. It actually absorbs the detritus of the burn, hastens healing and soothes. I had very bad burns at the very last of the 7 weeks daily radiation, took a long weekend with these bandages, and returned to finish the last 3 days.

I kept my "robust" burns -- second degree -- very clean; showered and soaped. I notified my husband and daugher before stepping in, so I could shout YOW when the water touched down. After that, it was ok.

Nothing makes it not burn; that's just the way it is now. My mother-in-law describes her radiation in the 60's as much worse, and given the better aiming machinery we now have, she's right. We're more fortunate, so include that as a gratitude while dealing with the discomfort and pain. If you can only hold some ground, that's better than being burned off the table and unable to avail yourself of this treatment. Your message sounds like you're survivor, so hold heart!

Drink lots of water. Avoid whipped petroleum. Keep clean even when it hurts. Wear soft cotton. It's the steady ongoing use of these products that helps. I started on my first day of radiation, and continued for the full 7.3 weeks of daily radiation. You can do it. Steady on Ellen!

Best wishes, SharonS

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I had 34 daily rads to my chest and I ended up pretty burned. My husband said I had raised areas on my back. Some small blistered areas broke open but I never really saw them. The only oozing part I noticed was right under the right side of my neck. The treatments ended 1-04 and I feel great. My back and chest are discolored but I can live with that. I used the Aquafor to help treat my skin. Good luck you will find something that works.

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Hi Mary Ann;

Congratulations on finishing your radiation treatments. Mine won't end for some time...seems like forever! I was just breezin' through until the beginning of the 5th week and it seems like, overnight almost, I am burned raw and can barely swallow anymore. As much as I hate taking pain meds, they are sounding good right about now :)

I looked at a health food store today to find your Alba Botanica, but they didn't have it. Thanks for the suggestion and good luck to you while the radiation continues to work inside you!

God bless, Ellen

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Hey Kathy;

You are always so kind to answer my posts!

You are so right, the radiation dept needs to approve. I did that and their main concern is you go to treatment *clean*; after that, they really didn't care. Perhaps proton is a little different, I don't know. They supplied me some complimentary Aquaphor and just today, gave me some gel packs for when it "crusts and breaks open"...yuck. Always something to look forward to with this disease, huh?

Talk to you soon!


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Hey Debbie;

Thanks for answering my post and for suggesting Cortaid.

After chemo last night ( I didn't get out of the hospital parking lot until 11:00 pm !) I drove straight to Walgreens to get it. Unfortunately the advanced formula has been discontinued they said. They had one called maximum but they were out of stock on it too. They said they would have a shipment in a week or so. I will try any and everything suggested until I find the fit" for me. Thank you so much for your suggestion!

God bless you and your husband, Ellen

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Hey Kathy;

Wow! 33 treatments is alot...I have 7 weeks planned also, but mine won't feel quite as bad as yours did, I feel sure, since mine is being done by proton. I can only imagine the burns you got. I hope you are doing well now Kathy.

They gave me some Hydrocodone liquid with Acetaminophen to drink (Lortab)...of course, it burns going down, but hopefully it will work as I am beginning to not be able to eat or swallow liquids either...I am sure you understand that too.

I will ask them about getting this Biafine cream. The Aquaphor is not doing anything at all. Like you, several folks from LCA have given me some suggestions and I will try them all over the next 3 weeks, I am sure! :)

Thanks again and God bless you Kathy,


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Hey Alice;

I read your post as soon as I got back in this afternoon...carrying a complimentary box of CoolMagic Gel Sheets" they gave me at the treatment center!

They even gave me some little stocking/body suit to wear so they can be held up. It looks so small, I don't know how I will even breathe in it. Hope it really expands - right now all folded up, it isn't any bigger than a sock! :) But if I have to, I will tape those sheets on!

So good to know they worked for Bob, now I trust them too!

God bless you both, Ellen

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You are so amazing! You always go out of your way to answer my posts, and SO many others, very exactly, very detailed. Thank you so much.

After radiation today, I found Calendula lotion, not gel, but went ahead and got it anyway since it was non-greasy (and homeopathic ,which always appeals to me). I have no idea where to find the dried flower...that sounds like a mail order? And that's fine with me...hubby says I am way too accomplished when it comes to pressing the "send" button! :)

I wasn't able to find aloe gel, but I have tried the natural plant juice...how much more aloe can it get, right?

And as for Vitamin E, I have opened up some capsules and applied the liquid directly before...on gums, skin, etc. That's the only Vitamin E I have seen. Will it work as well as a gel do you think?

I will give these a few days and see how they do...and just today they gave me the gel sheets for when it gets bad...so my arsenal is being prepared thanks to you and so many others who always unselfishly give so much of their time.

God bless and congrats again on so many fantastic healthy years!


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Hey Brenda;

Thanks for the reply!

I am so amazed to hear how other folks had 33 & 34 radiation treatments. I know you must have gotten pretty burned. So glad to hear your chest radiation doesn't hurt anymore! It gives us all inspiration.

I read your reply-post on your WBR, regarding the funky taste you have...just wanted to let you know that I had stereotactic radiation to a brain met...and it also left me with a funky *metallic* taste in the back of my throat. Don't know what that is all about, but everytime I breathe in from my mouth being open, I get the taste...

Hope your energy level comes back soon Brenda!

God bless, Ellen

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Hi Ellen, yes the aftertaste is very annoying and I hope is gone soon. I had to go back to the doctor and I am feeling better. After 30 days of Amoxicillan, I am on Levaquin for 14 days. I actually don't feel like I have been run over by a big Mack truck and I stayed up all day and never napped. I am so proud of myself, I did made dinner and did the dishes. I have done nothing but sit in my chair or sleep for over a week. My hubby has been doing the dishes, we've been ordering in and he has been doing the laundry plus working 12 hours a night. I couldn't have done this without him. Thanks for the reply, Brenda

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Hello Ellen,

When Bill went through his original radiation to chest, he was given a tube of LUBRIDERM by the radiation techs.

While going through radiation treatments, he was advised to use it, but to wash it off prior to each radiation treatment. They prefer to have nothing on the skin to interefere where the radiation is being focused, so Bill would only apply it AFTER the treatment. He would then shower it off the next morning.

He was also advised not to use any rough sponges or cloths when showering. They told him to use his hand as a vehicle for a gentle soap and to gently wash the area being radiated.

The LUBRIDERM worked very well for him, and kept his skin from turning very red.

Hope this helps, Ellen.


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Right before I was diagnosed, they mistakenly thought I had pnuemonia and perscribed Levaquin 750 to me. That medicine knocked me off my feet - very strong stuff. No wonder you feel tired - it's obviously doing it's job! You will get your strength back soon, I am sure.

And yes, what would we do without our wonderful husbands and wives and people who love us probably more than we love ourselves...

Enjoy your much deserved break from dishes and laundry, you'll be back at them soon enough! :)

God bless, Ellen

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Dear Ellen--

I am surprised that Walgreens told you about a discontinuation. We have had no problem finding it here in New Jersey (Burlington County area). I always go to eBay for stuff that is being discontinued, or has been. However, you need to be careful with some vendors on eBay. I have not had a problem yet.

I do believe the Cortaid will work just fine. I would, however, touch base with my radiation oncologist and make sure they are OK with it also.

God bless you also Ellen. I don't know what I would do without my faith and the Lord our God.

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Hey Barbara!

Thanks for the info. I will try to locate Lubriderm; sounds like it works!

Reading through Bills latest reports that you have posted (very moving bridge photo and *love* history) it made me feel so happy to hear he is doing well. You guys are an inspiration to us all Barbara. God bless you both! Ellen

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Ellen -

I was given Lidocaine 2% - it is a numbing gel that I put in a large syringe and put down my throat. It was a miracle worker for swallowing and being able to eat. Perhaops you could ask about that also.

I am on Alimta now and the cancer is modestly responding - have my 4th round on Monday. As long as it is working I will stick with it.


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