The numbers are shocking, but it's important for American women to be aware that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. One of the most commonly recommended treatments is radiation therapy, as it effectively eradicates cancerous cells and can be used to combat cancerous cells of all stages. Everyone's reaction to radiation therapy is different. While some patients feel little to no discomfort, it's not uncommon for other patients to have sensitive skin after each treatment. Getting radiation therapy doesn't have to be a pain or uncomfortable, here are 3 ways you can further avoid irritating sensitive skin for a quicker recovery.
Be Aware of What You're Wearing
You might not be aware of it, but the type of clothing you wear will have a huge effect on whether your skin becomes more and more sensitive after each treatment. Tight clothing will rub up on sensitive skin and further exasperate the symptoms. During the entire treatment period, you'll want to wear loose clothing like crop tops. Choose fabrics that are as soft as possible, as they tend to be more gentle on the skin.
In addition, consider going without a bra or clothing that has shoulder straps. If you can't go without a bra, consider wearing one that is a size larger than what you're normally accustomed to. Sports bras have also been highly recommended. Don't wear fancy bras that have lace or beads on them, as these types of fabrics tend to irritate the skin even further.
Avoid Lotions, Creams and Perfumes
Your nighttime routine may have consisted of putting on creams and lotions on your body before you sleep in order to wake up with supple skin. Your morning routine might include spraying on some perfume before leaving the house. If your skin is rather sensitive after radiation therapy, you'll need to stop these routines immediately. The lotions and creams may contains ingredients that irritate your skin. The same can be said for perfumes. For some patients, blisters will form on their skin. The ingredients in lotions, creams, and perfumes may actually cause the blisters to become infected. In short, you want to go au naturel from now on.
If you have to apply something on your skin, make sure you speak with a radiation specialist ahead of time to determine whether there are any other alternatives they would suggest. Bring the creams and lotions you wish to apply with you to your appointment. This way, the radiation specialist can get a good idea of what ingredients are contained within.
Sleep on Your Back
There are a lot of things and routines you'll need to change in order to prevent further irritating your skin while getting radiation therapy. The way you sleep is one of them. If you didn't before, you'll want to get used to sleeping on your back from now on. If you sleep on your side or on your stomach, you might put unnecessary pressure on certain areas of skin around your breasts. In addition, you'll further irritate your skin if you tend to toss and turn throughout the night.
When sleeping, use a light blanket that won't end up rubbing your skin. Wear a loose shirt or a bathrobe to bed for optimal comfort throughout the night.
Speak to your radiation specialist immediately the moment that your skin becomes sensitive. You want to deal with the symptoms as soon as possible in order to avoid further worsening the situation. If you take steps to correct or mediate the situation immediately, you'll also benefit from a much quicker recovery.