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You are scheduled to receive radiation therapy designed specifically for you. The following guidelines will help you take an active part in your radiation treatment.
Temporary skin changes may occur. Usually these include redness, dryness, scaling, and itching of the treated area. Skin changes usually occur one to two weeks after your treatment begins and may last one to two weeks after your last treatment. Darkening of the skin in the treated area can occur.
Fullness and mild swelling of the breast may occur during treatment. These changes will decrease slowly over time.
You may experience occasional warm sensations, tingling, or shooting pains in your breast. These sensations decrease slowly over time. If you have discomfort, you may take pain medication as needed:
Long-term effects may continue for one year or longer after treatment. You may notice that your breast is firmer than it was before treatment. Sometimes the size of your breast changes. It may become larger or smaller. The skin and fatty tissue of the breast may feel thicker.
Permanent skin changes include increased sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures and some-times a darker coloration (hyperpigmentation).
If the area being treated is exposed to the sun, apply sunscreen routinely to the treatment site whenever you are outdoors for more than 10 minutes during summer or winter. Use PABA-free sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Since the area being treated will always be more sensitive than the rest of your skin, protect the area from sun exposure after your treatment ends.
Birth control is strongly recommended during treatment, since radiation therapy may pose risks to an unborn child.
Ask your nurse or doctor any questions you may have about the following:
Tell your nurse or doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:
Revised January 2013