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Side effects of radiation therapy:

What is good for a radiation therapy burn that is in the crease of your leg and pelvic area, where the air cannot get to it?

Skin hyper pigmentation or skin burn is a common side effect of radiation therapy (only for certain types of radiation therapy). This type of skin reaction generally develops after the third week of radiation therapy. This reaction can range from - skin reddening, darkening, itching, peeling, tenderness, burns, ulceration or blistering. You may experience these side effects if you undergo a radiation therapy that uses more shallow radiation beams (commonly used for treating skin cancers). Skin reactions that are caused due to radiation therapy are generally limited to the area of the treatment.

Single radiation beam, commonly used in the treatment of skin cancer is more likely to cause a skin burn or other skin reactions. Also if you are receiving chemotherapy shortly or before your radiation therapy then the susceptibility of getting a skin reaction or a skin burn is high. The stronger the dose of radiation therapy the higher risk for developing a skin reaction.

At most times, a specialist will prescribe application of certain moisturizing emollients from the onset of the radiation therapy. Take appropriate skin care measures your specialist prescribes once the skin reaction develops. You may also need some steroidal cream, ointment or antibiotic to ease the pain caused due to skin burn. Certain medications are specially prescribed by a specialist to heal skin burns. Discuss these with your specialist and ask for some if they are not being prescribed. All the skin reactions are temporary and resolve once the treatment is done, gradually the cosmetic appearance of skin will improve. In your case as the burn mark is mainly around the pelvic area and crease of your leg, cosmetic appearance may not be an area of great concern. But due to the location, healing may take some time. Preferably wear light and loose cotton clothes which will allow air flow to these areas. Prefer natural fabric panties instead of synthetic or polyester panties which restrict the air circulation and traps moisture in this area. Only apply creams and ointments prescribed by your specialist as certain oil based ointments can actually prevent the healing process by trapping moisture and normal circulation of air to the skin. Maintain proper hygiene; wear only clean and washed clothes. If you have severe burns talk to your specialist for other treatment options till the pain subsides or ask for some pain relieving medications. Never take any over the counter pain medications without the approval of your specialist to avoid any complications. 

Submitted on January 16, 2014