by Chipschick on Mon Feb 14, 2011 03:57 AM
My husband has completed 30 of his 36 radiation treatments. He was diagnosed with tonsil cancer on his left tonsil. He is now experiencing peeling on his burn. We have been putting silver sulfadianzine cream on it, but it is peeling, and extremely painful. Just having the collar of his shirt touch it hurts.
by Tony_L_2 on Mon Feb 14, 2011 04:15 AM
My RO provided Bard Special Care Cream which worked well for me. Also used a skin cream that had vitamin E as well as a straight vitamin E lotion. I still had some peeling and redness and during the last few days of treatment, I had one small spot that was raw and slightly broken open. My skin held up pretty well though.
by tristeve on Mon Feb 14, 2011 05:13 AM
I was quite burnt up from 40 rads. Open sores all around my neck and upper chest. I did use the sliver cream, it did help. And, quite honestly I was on a heafty dose of Morphine. One thing, gross as it might be, was to take a hot bath. I wouls loak towles in the hot water and wrap them around my neck. Then I would slide the towels off and along came the dead skin. It does sound gross but it was pretty nice at the time. I had to cut tee shirts to be be v-necks so I could wear them at night. I could not wear anything on my neck. I also had to sleep on a towel due to the burns draining.
I hope he has a speedy recovery!
by Makoto on Mon Feb 14, 2011 06:32 AM
I scabbed up on my throat. Right in the center, from top to bottom. The scabbing lasted two weeks in total. Used an antibiotic cream on it(ie polysporn) and the scabbing went away quickly.
But yeah, I could not wear anything around my neck for about a month. Two weeks before end of treatment, two weeks afterwards. Now, it is ok.
There is not much that can be done, I would just say get some pain killers and keep anything away from the neck that rubs or bothers the skin. The skin will bouce back after a while.
I am almost two months finished radiation treatment, and I still have a nice square tan on my throat. Not very noticiable right now though.
Good luck to him.
by Roselvr on Mon Feb 14, 2011 03:13 PM
On Feb 14, 2011 3:57 AM Chipschick wrote: My husband has completed 30 of his 36 radiation treatments. He was diagnosed with tonsil cancer on his left tonsil. He is now experiencing peeling on his burn. We have been putting silver sulfadianzine cream on it, but it is peeling, and extremely painful. Just having the collar of his shirt touch it hurts.
On Feb 14, 2011 3:57 AM Chipschick wrote:
Go buy some V neck shirts; also some baby wash cloths. We used the saline water in a bowl; dipped the gauze squares in it; put them on the skin; then put the baby washcloths in saline; put that on top; then a soft kitchen towel over it & he would sit for 30 or so minutes. Then we'd unwrap & use the SSD cream. I found the nurses put it on too thick; so getting it off was painful when they did it. I put it on his so that it was white but not thick. If he started to need more; we'd spot coat. What we found was that when it was thick; that dried & crusted; so the trick was keeping it transparent but moist.
The wrapping trick above is good for the drive to radiation too. My hub could not have a dry neck; would unwrap about 20 minutes before he was scheduled to go in. Once he was done we'd apply SSD again.
Actiq pops for pain. This was the best for pain & still is 13 months out. When he was in the machine he had fentynol patches (didn't have the actiq pops in yet) but he was only able to wear them for 3 hours before he puked from it. I'd give him ativan & percocet 30 minutes before we left; then as we were walking out he got the patch.
by joannaw81 on Mon Feb 14, 2011 04:07 PM
t's funny to see those posts as I was supposed to start my own about the skin problems. My mom has 4 more sessions of radiation left. Her skin is terrible, it peals off, it burns her, she can't touch it, it is burgundy (almost black). How long does it take for the skin to get better?
by Roselvr on Mon Feb 14, 2011 04:55 PM
On Feb 14, 2011 4:07 PM joannaw81 wrote: t's funny to see those posts as I was supposed to start my own about the skin problems. My mom has 4 more sessions of radiation left. Her skin is terrible, it peals off, it burns her, she can't touch it, it is burgundy (almost black). How long does it take for the skin to get better?
On Feb 14, 2011 4:07 PM joannaw81 wrote:
A few weeks. While it's called radiation "burn" it's not a burn at all. I've linked to a post a few times by a radiologist; what it is; is that the skin is damaged & can't regenerate itself. "Burn" creams won't work from what he was saying.
I'll see if I can find the post. Think I copied it & saved it as an email.
by Roselvr on Mon Feb 14, 2011 05:35 PM
This is the original post - http://goo.gl/TPQED
Here is the post explanation
by sxcavanaugh on Sun Nov 01, 2009 04:40 PM
Hello- I am very sorry for your pain and suffering. I am going to offer some information, but it is important to me that you understand I am not arguing about what you have been through or trying to minimize it- just helping you with the terminology.
Radiation wounds are not really burns, and they are not rated by degree. Medical professional who are trained in radiation usage will generally not use degrees to rate the wounds. Instead, they will use "grades" from the internationally accepted CTC (Common Toxicity Criteria) that is used by all major cancer research organizations (that is why it is call "common"). The reason you can't use degrees is that burns start at the top, and spread downward, and the "degree" of the burn has to do with how far through the skin thickness it caused damage. That isn't at all what happens with radiation- therefore the degree system isn't very useful.
With regard to some of the advice in this thread- all I can say it that it is well intended, but perhaps not exactly accurate. I do not, in any way, discourage patients from forming communities and sharing information- but sadly that information is sometimes not accurate. Although we can't stop people from passing around bad information, we (physicians) can minimize that aspect of cancer care by slowly and patiently explaining what we are doing to your body and why- and of course, what you should expect as side effects. As a Radiation Oncologist, my consults generally go well over an hour, with an additional 15 minutes once a week during therapy, and 20 minutes at each follow up. So, for even the most routine case (which are never routine to the patient) I will spend several hours over the course of three months sharing information, explaining, listening, and responding to concerns. I am not a saint- I am paid to do that. The problem is not that physicians are lazy or greedy (some are) but instead perhaps the problem is that physicians often do not understand that their job is more than the performing of the service- their job is also the teaching, comforting, and true healing of the patient. I do not think that the accurate and safe delivery of radiation is good enough- it is only a small part of the job, and if you aren't going to do the whole job, send the patient to someone who will. I don't think I apply radiation with any more skill than other doctors, but perhaps I spend a little more time helping my patients understand and prepare for what I am recommending.
With that in mind, please allow me to share a little bit of general information about radiation wounds- although I cannot address your case specifically, having never examined you. There is zero build up of radiation in a patient from external beam radiation therapy (although there is from free isotope therapy or seed implantation- but those are very different). None. It does not happen. So you don't need to clear any residual radiation out, because there isn't any. I am not out to insult anyone, but to suggest that there is residual radiation following external beam radiotherapy is just plain incorrect.
Radiation wounds are not "damaged" skin, per se, as much as they are "missing" skin- let me explain- radiation causes skin to fail to reproduce properly, and thus as you "use up" your normal skin, like we all do all day, there are no new layers of skin coming up from the bottom. So eventually the area can ulcerate. This might look like a thermal burn, but it has very little in common with a thermal burn, and the treatments for thermal burns will not help much.
Let me be clear- many skin reactions don't need, nor will they find benefit from a 100 dollars worth of potions and lotions from the herbal medicine shop. You expect me to say that because I'm a doctor. Perhaps some will stop listening to me now because I don't think that a plant from the middle of the jungle ground up and slathered on your skin will fix the problem (why would it?). But, allow me to also say- most skin reactions don't need, nor will they benefit from 100 dollars worth of laboratory chemicals stuffed into a brand name prescription from the pharmacy. Neither approach will help heal the skin very much, and neither will prevent the damage in the first place. Do I believe in natural cures? You bet. Your body, in its natural amazing way, can regenerate skin without lotions or potions or pills most of the time. Very few radiation reactions need serious supportive care, most (not all) will just get better. Of course, there are some severe wounds that will require medical attention, but without an understanding of what is wrong, no one, be they MD, DO, ND or Shaman, can be expected to properly assist you. If your medical professional is using terms like "second degree" to describe a radiation wound then there is a good chance (although I can't say for sure) that they are not trained in any of the more than 100 years of science and knowledge that can help you in this situation.
Now, keep in mind, I said herbal potions and laboratory chemicals won't heal the wound much faster- I didn't say they wouldn't sooth the area and ease your suffering while your body repaired the damage. That they are very good at. For a grade I skin reaction, a good non-alcohol containing aloe is about as good as anything that costs a hundred times of much, in my opinion. I would rather a patient use aloe, but there are also some lidocaine containing topical medications that are helpful if they insist. Colloidal silver (a very natural medication for the record, despite being sold at the pharmacy) can inhibit the growth of bacteria, although it may not cure an active infection. Infection in general is actually not that common in radiation wounds- but it can happen and should be treated when it does.
Rarely, radiation wounds do need more assertive supportive care. I'm truly very sorry that you had to experience such a situation. Keep in mind, you don't have to clear or remove dead skin from a radiation wound like you might from a thermal burn- at least not aggressively. The problem is missing skin, not damaged skin, or at least that is the more logical way to model the situation. Missing skin can't be healed with an herb, or a medication, and missing skin sure as heck can't be scrubbed at until it isn't missing anymore. Missing skin, for the most part, needs to wait until the body grows more skin. That can take 2-4 weeks for very mild reactions, to several months for serious radiation injuries. Make sure your medical professional has training and certification in these issues, keep in close contact with them, and ask them in no uncertain terms for a timeline that you can use in your healing expectations. Then, if your body does not respond on that timeline- ask them why, ask them if something is wrong, ask and then ask, and then ask some more, until your doctor explains what is going on with your body to your satisfaction. You have that right, and you also have that responsibility. Very few physicians, and far fewer patients, are qualified to give advice on radiation wounds. Find support and comfort on the internet- but find advice on the cause and cure for radiation damage to human tissues by consulting a board certified Radiation Oncologist- one that cares about your case, and takes the time to explain things to you.
God bless you and good luck.
by Oudave83 on Mon Feb 14, 2011 05:44 PM
...to KICK ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRSE the final 6 sessions...way to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Keep the gloves up and keep leading with your left-this fight is yours!!!!!!!!!!
The corner man,
by Chipschick on Tue Feb 15, 2011 01:50 AM
Thanks to all responses!!! Roselvr -- THANK you for your attached post. It really makes sense - and my husband said the radiation tech - who has really looked out for him and taken great care of him - said his neck looked really good.
Dave -- love your words of encouragement!! I haven't had a lot of time just to "look around" at the posts, but I have read some of your other posts - and you should be an advocate or an inspirational speaker!! I txt my husband your post and he said cool, i am ready to kick arse!!!!
When you track a discussion, you will get notified by e-mail if anyone else posts a new message on this discussion. Are you sure you want to track this discussion?
If you stop tracking this discussion, you will no longer get notified by e-mail if anyone else posts a new message on this discussion. Are you sure you want to stop tracking this discussion?
Did you or your loved one seek a second opinion before starting cancer treatment?
No, but we got a second opinion after we started treatment
We care about your feedback. Let us know how we can improve your CancerCompass experience.