post chemo/radiation pain

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post chemo/radiation pain

by Robert_W_17 on Tue Sep 23, 2008 12:00 AM

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I was diagnosed in may with preliminary stage III rectal cancer.  I have just finnished with 8 weeks of radiation and Xeloda.  In the last week of treatment I got severe radiation burns on the exterior and interior of the anus. I have surgery scheduled for the last week of October. Does anyone have any idea's on how to lessen the burning pain (feels like a very hot pepper is trying to tear through the skin) when going to the restroom, and how long does it last. 

And what should I expect for recovery from surgery (most likley will have a colostomy).

RE: post chemo/radiation pain

by soccermom on Wed Sep 24, 2008 12:00 AM

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On 9/23/2008 Robert W. wrote:

I was diagnosed in may with preliminary stage III rectal cancer.  I have just finnished with 8 weeks of radiation and Xeloda.  In the last week of treatment I got severe radiation burns on the exterior and interior of the anus. I have surgery scheduled for the last week of October. Does anyone have any idea's on how to lessen the burning pain (feels like a very hot pepper is trying to tear through the skin) when going to the restroom, and how long does it last. 

And what should I expect for recovery from surgery (most likley will have a colostomy).


Robert,

 Unfortunately, radiation does this to a person.  Did the rad oncs or anyone tell you about the things you could have done during treatment to minimize or eliminate these effects?  The anus is a particularly sensitive area and realistically MOST rad oncs fail to warn patients about this side effect - mostly for fear that if they describe it to the patients the patients won't follow throught.

So, here's some things you can try right now.  First of all you need to understand that the skin around the anus is VERY sensitive and very thin.  Like the lips and nipples, the anal skin area burns very easily.  In addition, radiation dries and thins the skin.  What has happened is that in addition to being burned, your skin has thinned even more and you have developed little fissures around your anus- like little paper cuts.  Everytime you go to the bathroom, you tear these open again and then the healing process has to begin all over.

What to do.  Well, since you are already burned, this might hurt. Avoid products that contain hydrocortisone as this also thins the skin - big no no when you already have the problem.  In addition, avoid products that contain a lot of alcohol as alcohol also dries the skin out even more.  Unfortunately, most products do contain some alcohol so you have to be prudent in what you use.

Try using alcohol free, CLEAR (get it at WalMart or Walgreens, CVS, etc) aloe vera gel all over that area.  In addition, try using Johnson & Johnson's 24Hour Soft Lotion to help moisturize that area.  Cocoa butter (hard to find pure - I use Queen Helene tub from WM) is wonderful to help the area heal.  Use non-alcohol baby wipes after BM's as opposed to toilet paper and wash only with glycerin soap as regular soap dries you out even further. 

I'm sorry no one told you about some tips to do during treatment to avoid these problems, or at the very least minimize them greatly.  As I said, it may burn a lot to use things like aloe vera now, but I would start immediately getting some protection and moisturizing going on in the anal area.

Jaynee

RE: post chemo/radiation pain

by lisaann on Sun Sep 28, 2008 12:00 AM

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For the burn around the anus, I found regular old diaper rash ointment (the white stuff, name brand is Desitin, but any store brand would do) was helpful to me.  It helped especially when the area was sore due to diarhea.  Best wishes to you-

Lisa

RE: post chemo/radiation pain

by mmermaid on Thu Oct 30, 2008 12:00 AM

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Robert,

Try emu oil (pure-emu-oil). Make sure that it is the pure emu oil. It can be purchased online in small or large amounts. Try small amount first and see if it is helpful to you. Then if you need more, get larger amounts. Then apply a layer to the affected area. It is very oily so you will need something to protect your garments. It will help reduce irritation by protecting the sensitive tissue and thus, allow the tissue to heal without continued irritation and aggravation to the site. It has been a big help to my mother who has had chronic burning secondary to thinned and inflamed perineal tissue. I am expecting to use it when my radiation treatment starts. I wish you luck...let me know if it was helpful (if you try it). Kim

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