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General Warnings for Radiotherapy

Some special conditions you may encounter during therapy and things you must do for them are listed below:  

Fatigue, exhaustion

You may feel tired and exhausted during your therapy. This becomes more evident in the following weeks as the dosage given increases. This fatigue is an expected condition resulting from your treatment and must not be interpreted so as that your disease worsens at all. It will decrease and disappear after the completion of your treatment. It will be good for you to not tire yourself much and spare more time to rest in such cases. You must kep away from habits which may keep you up such as caffeinated beverages in evening hours or eating at late hours. Fatigue may also result from reduction of your erythrocytes in connection with the therapy. In such case, your physician can recommend iron supplements or blood transfusion.  Fatigue will disappear after the therapy, but if recurs after a few months, it is possibly associated with the disease and please inform your physician.

Nutrition and fluid intake

Regardless of the therapy duration and form, you must pay attention to healthy nutrition and drinking plenty of water throughout your radiotherapy. Some patients encounter therapy associated anorexia, their eating habit changes but nonetheless you must be sensitive and diligent about nutrition. Drinking plenty of water is not only beneficial particularly against side effects associated with irradiation of head-neck areas and rib cage, but required as a fundamental need of your body. It is more suitable to eat less and frequently rather than eating three meals through the day. It is normal to lose some weight during radiotherapy but if you have apparent problems about eating, please make sure to request assistance of your physician.   

Skin care

Therapy associated skin reactions develop in some patients. This has a frequency varying according to the properties of the patient and the therapy. A patient is advised on skin care during every therapy planning. Such advises vary depending on the therapy facility. In some centers, water contact with the skin of the therapy area is prohibited and thus the patient is required not to bath.

In some others, bathing is allowed by washing the therapy area with warm water, then completely drying with a soft towel and slow movements. A slight sense of itching may appear on the therapy area in the following weeks. Never rub or scratch that area, because the skin thereon gradually becomes thinner, more sensitive and easily irritable in association with the therapy. Perfumed soaps, perfumed powders, deodorants, lotions, creams are irritating to your skin and it is unfavourable for you to use them during therapy. In some cases, your physician can recommend non-perfumed baby powder (talc) for you.

It is unfavourable to bath with too hot water and contact the therapy area with irritating materials such as washcloth throughout the therapy (if bathing is allowed) and in the early port-therapy periods. It is the best to use warm water and non-perfumed soap during this period. Remaining the therapy area wet may increase the risk of skin reaction. In case of perspiration, this area must be immediately dried with a clean and soft towel and slight movements. Marks put on the therapy area must not be erased. If marks become wiped or completely disappear, never try to replace these marks on your own. Your marks are already being checked by your technician every day and if they begin to be erased, they will only be replaced by your physician.

Men who receive radiotherapy on their head and neck areas are not allowed to shave using shaving foam, shaving cream or razor throughout their therapy. It is the best not to shave during the therapy if possible. If necessary, shaving with a shaver can be allowed. Such restrictions on the skin are only related with the skin of the therapy area. You are not required to take any measures about the remaining parts of your skin. In addition, such restrictions are not permanent and only required uring the therapy and the early post-therapy periods.  

Protection from sunlight

The skin of the therapy area becomes thinner and sensitive. Therefore, it must not be exposed to effective sunlight in summer or cold wind in winter. Such conditions not only irritate the skin, but increase the risk of reaction as well. The therapy area must be protected from strong sunlight for minimum 1 year following the completion of the therapy. Even after that period, skin sensitivity may continue sometimes and require special care. In such case, sun creams with high protection factors may be used.  

Wearing

It is important to carefully choose the fabric which will contact to the skin of the therapy area. Clothes made from natural fibers will be more suitable and they won’t irritate the skin. Wool, nylon clothes may be irritationg. Sholder straps, bra straps are unfavourable if squeezing the skin under therapy. It will be right for women who receive therapy on their breasts not to use bra during therapy. If radiotherapy is applied on neck area, clothes with narrow collars and ties must be avoided. But it is also required to protect the therapy area particularly from strong sunlight and cold wind. For this purpose, silk or cotton scarf for neck and kerchief made from same fabric for haired skin will be suitable choices.