radiation burns

Posted by mimz59 @mimz59, Nov 1, 2018

My Dad has terrible burns on his back from radiation. Any suggestions would be appreciated?

@pigpen50

My husband received very high dosages of radiation (5 days/week for 6 weeks) for base of tongue and lymph node cancer in his neck in the summer of 2017.The skin burns were very significant. May I pass along a treatment suggested by our radiation oncology nurse. Take 1 part white vinegar mixed with 4 parts water, soak a white cotton cloth and wring out excess ( I cut up men's white 100% cotton t-shirts). Place on burnt area for 15 minutes, remove and let area air dry. I am not lying…it does sting!!!, but gets better! Then liberally apply 1% Silver Sulfadiazine Cream (prescription). Do this 4 times a day. Be sure you use very clean cloths and a clean shirt every time. Within 3 weeks burns were completely healed. Check with your radiation oncologist before using this. Our nurse has 25 years of experience in this field and knows a lot of "out of the box" treatments. Aquaphor was no help for him. Good luck!

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How long was each treatment….30 min??

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@pigpen50

My husband received very high dosages of radiation (5 days/week for 6 weeks) for base of tongue and lymph node cancer in his neck in the summer of 2017.The skin burns were very significant. May I pass along a treatment suggested by our radiation oncology nurse. Take 1 part white vinegar mixed with 4 parts water, soak a white cotton cloth and wring out excess ( I cut up men's white 100% cotton t-shirts). Place on burnt area for 15 minutes, remove and let area air dry. I am not lying…it does sting!!!, but gets better! Then liberally apply 1% Silver Sulfadiazine Cream (prescription). Do this 4 times a day. Be sure you use very clean cloths and a clean shirt every time. Within 3 weeks burns were completely healed. Check with your radiation oncologist before using this. Our nurse has 25 years of experience in this field and knows a lot of "out of the box" treatments. Aquaphor was no help for him. Good luck!

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Hi @pigpen50 and @margieinia, I see that this discussion encouraged each of you to make your first post on Connect. Your experiences with your husbands' cancer of the base of the tongue will be helpful to members of the Head & Neck Cancer group (https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/head-neck-cancer/). In fact, I'd like to invite you to take part in these discussions:

* Adenoid cystic carcinoma – left tongue base https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/adenoid-cystic-carcinoma-left-tongue-base/
* Life after head and neck cancer treatment https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/life-after-head-and-neck-cancer-treatment/
* Depression and anxiety, and Head & Neck Cancer https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/depression-and-anxiety-1/

@margieinia, I was thinking about you. I believe your husband had a followup appointment this week.

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@jackiemarie

I had radiation burns from colon cancer treatment. Dr started me with aquafor [didn't work well], then prescribed silver sulfadiazine cream [SSD] .In between I used vaseline, which might not have helped heal burns, but felt pretty soothing. Best of luck

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Hi @jackiemarie, I'd like to invite you to follow the Colorectal Cancer group (https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/colorectal-cancer/) and to browse through the topic. Perhaps you'd like to start by introducing yourself in this discussion:

* Living with colorectal cancer – Meet others & come say hi https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/living-with-colorectal-cancer-meet-others-come-say-hi/

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@colleenyoung

Hi @pigpen50 and @margieinia, I see that this discussion encouraged each of you to make your first post on Connect. Your experiences with your husbands' cancer of the base of the tongue will be helpful to members of the Head & Neck Cancer group (https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/head-neck-cancer/). In fact, I'd like to invite you to take part in these discussions:

* Adenoid cystic carcinoma – left tongue base https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/adenoid-cystic-carcinoma-left-tongue-base/
* Life after head and neck cancer treatment https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/life-after-head-and-neck-cancer-treatment/
* Depression and anxiety, and Head & Neck Cancer https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/depression-and-anxiety-1/

@margieinia, I was thinking about you. I believe your husband had a followup appointment this week.

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Thank you for asking. This afternoon my husband is now in remission! The doctors will follow him closely the next 5 years and if the cancer does not return then he will be cancer free. It was very interesting to hear that the reason they follow him so closely for 5 years is because this type of cancer is the type that if it returns, it will be during this time period. Has a spouse, many people do not realize the emotions and strength that is endured to not only take care of the patient but also having family obligations as well. Many nights I would cry myself to sleep or toss and turn wondering what the outcome would be and being powerless to do anything. So, even though I'm not a patient, I can answer many questions regarding his HPV 16-Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) with his treatment plans and such.

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@margieinia

Thank you for asking. This afternoon my husband is now in remission! The doctors will follow him closely the next 5 years and if the cancer does not return then he will be cancer free. It was very interesting to hear that the reason they follow him so closely for 5 years is because this type of cancer is the type that if it returns, it will be during this time period. Has a spouse, many people do not realize the emotions and strength that is endured to not only take care of the patient but also having family obligations as well. Many nights I would cry myself to sleep or toss and turn wondering what the outcome would be and being powerless to do anything. So, even though I'm not a patient, I can answer many questions regarding his HPV 16-Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) with his treatment plans and such.

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Such encouraging news, Margie! Indeed the role of spouse and caregiver to someone with cancer carries its own emotional burden. Should you ever feel the need to share amongst caregivers, please join this group https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/caregivers/

I will certainly tag you in conversations related to HPV 16-Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), like these two for example:
– Diagnosis and discussions: HPV 16 Squamous Cell Carcinoma https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/diagnosis-and-discussions/
– squamous cell in throat https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/squamous-cell-in-throat/

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@pigpen50

My husband received very high dosages of radiation (5 days/week for 6 weeks) for base of tongue and lymph node cancer in his neck in the summer of 2017.The skin burns were very significant. May I pass along a treatment suggested by our radiation oncology nurse. Take 1 part white vinegar mixed with 4 parts water, soak a white cotton cloth and wring out excess ( I cut up men's white 100% cotton t-shirts). Place on burnt area for 15 minutes, remove and let area air dry. I am not lying…it does sting!!!, but gets better! Then liberally apply 1% Silver Sulfadiazine Cream (prescription). Do this 4 times a day. Be sure you use very clean cloths and a clean shirt every time. Within 3 weeks burns were completely healed. Check with your radiation oncologist before using this. Our nurse has 25 years of experience in this field and knows a lot of "out of the box" treatments. Aquaphor was no help for him. Good luck!

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I am about to start radiation. 16 weeks/5 days week and 30 min. sessions. Is this 30 session usual? A friend has said it seems too long.

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Depending on what kind of cancer your treatments are for, you may need to change or remove some clothing in preparation for radiation. I had rectal/colon cancer and my appt time started with going to changing room to remove some clothing before treatments so techs could align radiation to appropriate places they had marked on my body, so actual radiation time was definitely not 30 min. After a couple of appts, I wore a dress, and found out that I could just remove my underwear in the radiation room and they just lifted up my dress when I got onto the gurney.This was so much quicker and easier than going to changing room! So keep that in mind, unless they have told you that actual radiation will be 30 min, it probably won't be. But don't hesitate to call their office and ask them. Best of luck to you.

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Thanks Jackiemarie, It was the radiologist that said the treatments would be 30 min. each. I have spoken with a few people and they think this is an extra long time. The area is the head………it is presently on the left side of tongue near the back. Surgery to remove has been done. This is just to catch any cancer left behind.

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I had smaller facial burns from my radiation. I used second skin on the larger area……a moist compress/wrap that I believe is over the counter. It really helped at night. Otherwise the SSD cream is the best, as others have said.

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@sews

I am about to start radiation. 16 weeks/5 days week and 30 min. sessions. Is this 30 session usual? A friend has said it seems too long.

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My head and neck radiation lasted about 30 minutes from being positioned with mask to the end. Actual radiation application was only 20-25 minutes of that. I suppose that everyone is different as far as the number of different angles that they use to target the area.

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Never had radiation to the head, mine was to the lower abdomen, if it is for 16 weeks it could be you be you are getting a lower dosage.

Good luck,
mlmcg

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Thanks……….never thought it might be lower dose…..will check that out..

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@sews

I am about to start radiation. 16 weeks/5 days week and 30 min. sessions. Is this 30 session usual? A friend has said it seems too long.

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@sews I received radiation in 2001 for breast cancer following a lumpectomy and chemo. I went every day for 6.5 weeks. It took longer for me to get undressed and redressed (only had to remove upper clothing and wear a cape) than the actual radiation treatment which, once I was in the right position, only took a few minutes. No one I've talked to who has undergone cancer treatment has been given the same protocols–different chemos, different number of chemo treatments, some surgery only, some chemo first, some chemo after surgery, etc.–oncologists really tailor the treatment to each person. It's not unusual to have questions now that you have had some time to think–ask your doctor (and your doctor's nurse)–what to expect, what will happen as your treatment progresses, how to care for yourself and the area that will be treated, etc. I can tell you that as the weeks of treatment went by, I did feel tired and it took some months to get over–get plenty of rest and don't overdo. The last week, or two, I did have some radiation "burns" (nothing awful, just red and weepy) under the breast in the crease where the breast meets the chest. After these healed, if you knew what to look for, you could tell that my left breast was ever so slightly darker than the other side (still is). My skin otherwise looks the same on both sides. Thinking of you and wishing you all the best.

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I covered my face with silvadene right after radiation. A couple of hours later, I cleaned the silvadene, and applied layers of fresh aloe which I also put in my mouth. I was radiated for head and neck cancer. The doctor was amazed that my skin was doing so much better than other patients. He had me record a tape of how I prepared the aloe and applied it on my face. It is extremely soothing and kind of cooks after applying on skin. You can buy large aloe leaves in hispanic stores and some grocery shops. Cut the piece you are going to use, and that depends on the size of the burn. Carefully peal all the green, because it can stain your skin. You will end with a clear part of the aloe. Slice it in half if it is thick enough, and apply it to the radiated skin. You can also put it in a plastic bag, and keep it in the fridge. Apply it fresh but not too cold. You can turn it once the feeling of freshness stops. Once it becomes kind of milky color, replace it with a fresh layer.Keep it on the burn as long as possible. I hope this helps.

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@nursemaven, what was the lotion you used for radiation burn? Wasn't it made from goat's milk or something?

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