How to limit the occurrence of early side effects during radiation therapy?


The instructions given by the radiation oncologist and nurses allow patients to protect their skin and to avoid as much as possible the appearance of possible side effects during the treatment.

The best way to limit the occurrence of side effects during treatment delivery is to follow the recommendations given by the radiation oncologist and nurses. These instructions are different in function of the area to be treated, but some apply to all patients:

  • do not put cream on the skin before a session, which means rinsing the skin with water before the session if cream has been applied;
  • do not expose the irradiated area to the sun;
  • do not swim in the sea or a pool;
  • avoid smoking and alcohol.

Many patients ask about “fire cutters”. We cannot advise patients against meeting one of them, but it is important to know that no serious study has been done on this topic, and therefore, their effectiveness has not been scientifically demonstrated. If patients follow their radiation oncologist’s recommendations, there is no need to look for any additional protection because the radiation oncologist calculated the treatment plan with the objectives of maximum effectiveness and of limiting the occurrence of side effects.