Side Effects of Radiotherapy

How are Skin Problems Treated?

You may notice that your skin in the treatment area is red or irritated. It may look as if it is sunburnt or tanned. After a few weeks, your skin may become very dry from the therapy. You may use blond aqueous cream (no perfume or colourants) or Aloe Vera gel after treatment.


With some kinds of radiation therapy, treated skin may develop a “moist reaction”, especially in areas where there are skin folds (for example: in the groin, between the buttocks and under the arm). A moist reaction happens because the skin is wet and becomes very sore. It is important to notify your doctor or radiotherapist if your skin develops a moist reaction.

During radiation therapy, you will need to be very gentle with the skin in the treatment area. Here are some suggestions:

  • When you wash, use only lukewarm water and no soap. Pat dry with soft towel.
  • Do not wear tight clothing over the area.
  • Do not rub, scrub or scratch the skin in the treated area especially when bathing.
  • Do not use any powders, creams, perfumes, deodorants, body oils, ointments, lotions or home remedies in the treatment area while you are being treated and for several weeks afterwards.
  • Avoid exposing the radiated area to the sun during treatment.
  • Have a shower opposed to having a bath.

The majority of skin reactions to radiation therapy go away a few weeks after treatment is complete. In some cases, the treated skin will remain slightly darker than it was before and may continue to be more sensitive to sun exposure.


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