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Aftercare Advice following Radiotherapy to the Breast

Introduction

You have now completed a course of radiotherapy treatment and this page will give you advice on aftercare.

 

After Treatment

As the radiotherapy treatment has a build-up effect, the side effects that you may have experienced can still continue to develop without receiving any further treatment.

Radiotherapy reactions peak around 7-10 days from the last treatment appointment, in which we often say reactions can be seen to get ‘worse before they get better’. These can take several weeks to a few months to settle down and for you to feel back to normal.

 

Aftercare

You will have been advised during your radiotherapy on how to look after your skin and it is important to continue with this skin care regime for 2-4 weeks following your radiotherapy or until your skin reaction has healed.

Advice:

  • Avoid sun exposure and shield the area from direct sunlight and use a high SPF sunscreen or sun-block.

If you find that your skin has broken, blistering or weeping then contact the radiotherapy department. A staff member will then advise you on how to look after your skin. Some basic steps are listed:

 

  • Stop using any moisturiser in the area where the skin has broken, and allow air to circulate to help with the healing process.

  • Use appropriate dressings/products on broken skin to reduce further trauma and infection i.e. Allevyn Gentle with Border and Aquaform Hydrogel. These would need to be supplied by your GP.

  • Suitable products would be non-adhesive, silicone low adhesion, non- or low paraffin/petroleum jelly based.

 

Follow up

At the end of your course of treatment, a follow up appointment will be arranged. This will normally be 6-8 weeks after the radiotherapy has finished and will be with your consultant oncologist.

It is advised that if you have any concerns prior to this appointment, you can contact your GP, Breast Care nurse or Radiotherapy Radiographer.

 

Useful websites

www.nhs.uk

www.northamptongeneral.nhs.uk

www.breastcancercare.org.uk

www.macmillan.org.uk

 

Other information

Northampton General Hospital operates a smoke-free policy. This means that smoking is not allowed anywhere on the Trust site, this includes all buildings, grounds and car parks.

Leaflets, information, advice and support on giving up smoking and on nicotine replacement therapy are available from the local Stop Smoking helpline on 0845 6013116, the free national helpline on 0300 123 1044, email: smokefree@nhft.nhs.uk and pharmacies.

Car parking at Northampton General Hospital is extremely limited and it is essential to arrive early, allowing ample time for parking. You may find it more convenient to be dropped off and collected.

This information can be provided in other languages and formats upon request including Braille, audio cassette and CD. Please contact (01604) 523442 or the Patient Advice & Liaison Service (PALS) on (01604) 545784, email: pals@ngh.nhs.uk.

 

This information was taken from Northampton General Hospital leaflet NGV1824 (Jun 2019).

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