Radiation can be used as a sole treatment for breast cancer or in conjunction with other types of treatments like chemotherapy.
And while radiation treatment itself is painless, it can cause skin irritation, which can worsen as treatment progresses.
According to breastcancer.org, the reaction is much like a sunburn. And the most common side effects on the area being treated include:
- Skin peeling
The National Cancer Institute also reports these side effects:
- Skin darkening – This can also be painful
- Blistered skin – A patient can develop blister sores
- Swollen skin – The skin can appear painful and swollen
- Excessive itching – Skin becomes itchy, but it’s best not to scratch to avoid infection
- Moist reaction – The skin becomes sore, wet, and infected
Breast Cancer and Radiation
The area’s most likely to be affected are places where you’ve had a lot of sun exposure like the chest and places where skin touches skin, like the armpit or area under the breast.
Some people also have skin discoloration that can last for years. Others could develop spider veins years after treatment. Spider veins can also cause pain, irritation, and itchiness.
For patients with fair skin, larger breasts or other conditions that may impact how your skin heals, side effects could be worse. The same is true for patients who had chemotherapy or a mastectomy prior to radiation.
Breast Cancer Radiation — Skin Symptom Management
To manage the skin discomfort that comes with radiation, patients can do the following:
- Moisturize regularly
- Be careful in the shower
- Avoid skin-to-skin contact
- Don’t pick at blisters
- Ask your doctor for medication that may help
- Dress comfortably in loose clothing
- Avoid the sun
Breast Cancer Treatment Miami
The CyberKnife Center of Miami. offers radiation for stage one and stage two breast cancers as well as metastatic breast cancers in some cases.
In early-stage breast cancer CyberKnife is a faster, safer way to treat breast cancer
- It offers outstanding tumor control, better cosmetic results, and less radiation exposure to the surrounding vital organs – like the heart and the lungs
- There is no cutting, no surgery, and no risk of infection
- Plus, there are only one to five treatments with CyberKnife as opposed to 35 when you go to a regular cancer center
- With CyberKnife, skin side effects tend to look like mild sunburns which go away rather quickly
- Fewer treatments can mean fewer side effects to the skin
“Breast cancer is an area where women really need to do serious research and find out what their treatment options are because CyberKnife is an amazing option and a lot of women still are not aware of it and if the medical facility they are going to doesn’t have CyberKnife, chances are they won’t tell you about it,” says Dr. Mark Pomper, board-certified radiation oncologist and medical director at CyberKnife Miami.
Breast Cancer Specialist Miami
CyberKnife has been used to treat early-stage breast cancers for more than 10 years with very high success rates, according to Dr. Pomper.
However, CyberKnife can also be used for breast cancer that has metastasized, including to the lymph nodes.
“Another CyberKnife advantage, even if an area has been treated with radiation before, we can treat the same area again because the technology is so precise. We treat a lot of lymph nodes at CyberKnife Miami and we treat them very successfully,” Dr. Pomper says.
If you are interested in learning more about CyberKnife Miami, our breast cancer treatment and the skin side effect of radiation for breast cancer, call us at 305-279-2900 or go to our website now www.cyberknifemiami.com.