Advice for ghastly radiation burns please?

Hi Guys! I would really love to hear from any of you who had horrible rads burns that ooozed pus and what you did to ease the burning, pain and stop the site getting worse?

I have been keeping inside as I am so embarrassed by the large horrid pus sores on my neck chest and underarm area. It is soooooooo sore, red and smells revolting. No sooner do I bathe the pus away with salt water, and it is there again. I am miserable! I should be out celebrating the end of 10 months of treatment, but I am still sufferring.

Dressings just stick. Aloe vera just dries like glue on the top and makes it all crusty. intrasite gel just stings and again makes all my skin sticky and if i move the stuck skin just reopens!

Do you have any other ideas please? I am desperate!

Many thanks,

Lone x


Sounds as though you need the special gel patches, painkillers and maybe antibiotics.

Can you get an urgent GP appointment? or, your BCN may be able to help.

Hope this helps.


hi I would second emmbee,

I too have a raw patch under my arm, which was very wet, and this weather unable to use deodorant absolutely horrendous, very sore, and made me very miserable, I didnt have any pus or nasty smell, it sounds as if you may have an infection, I would definately go and see your g.p. asap,

my doctor gave me Fucibet 30g cream, fusidic acid/betamethasone, it seems to be doing the trick, yesterday I couldnt even put my arm down, or have anything touching it, today it seems much better.

Keep us posted on how you get on, hope you feel better soon, I know its really painful and makes you feel downright miserable,

best wishes Liz xxx

despite tanning well and never burning, I was surprised when I reacted alot to the rads as i only had 15. I could actually smell burnt flesh if I touched the area for weeks although it did not open up. I was given a few remedies but was totally transformed by actiform cool dressings. They are actually for rads burns and leg ulcers but not many nurses/gps seem to have heard of them. I can’t tell you what relief they give and they encourage healing. They just attach to you so no tape etc to peel off
Godd luck

Hi Kulakatz

To me it sounds as if you have infected wounds. It would be best if you made an urgent appointment to return to your treating hospital so they can take a look, clean you up and supply you with dressings and probably antibiotics.

My hospital (Royal Marsden Fulham) told me not to go to my GP with any problems but to return to them. The feeling being that GP’s don’t have enough experience with rads burnt skin and tend to dish out dressings to be applied with tape which they don’t reccommend.

I appreciate that’s easy for them to say and not a problem if the hospital is close by. If your hospital is miles away maybe the GP would be best.

All the best I hope you get sorted soon and more comfortable.
Diana x

hi, I must agree with ragamuffin,

I have been to my gp a few times and he has looked at me with a puzzled look on his face almost as if he didnt have a clue what to prescribe!! so yes you probably would be better off going to your rads team if you can, hope you get sorted out soon,

best wishes Liz xx

I agree about going back to hospital, ring your nurse up and ask her about it.

not rads, but my previosly well healing WLE scar has developed a couple of shiny white pimples, I am sure it is nothing , but am equally sure my gp would scratch his head and prescribe antibiotics–just in case. Antibiotics all make me ill and i dont want to be laid low if its just an unusual but perfectly ok thing scars sometimes do. So i am back off to the experts. Rang BC nurse today, she said after you have seen the onc tomorrow ask to see Sheila she is our scar specialist–brilliant.

oh my goodness, i just read this - i am having a nightmare as well.

under my breast is really hideous peeled skin and open and red raw and the skin on my nipple area has peeled away leaving a red raw, painful areola. i was given conflicting advice - one to keep it covered, but this is uncomfortable and when i take the dressing off, the skin just peels away making it worse…and my oncologist told me to air the wound and put aqueous cream on it (now i am no medical expert, but surely this would make it even worse??). I have been really stressing about it and have had a few teary moments in the past 2 days as i really do not know what to do…and it was only my final radiotherapy yesterday and i thought they would help me more. i went to A and E tonight, but the queue was so long that i thought i may as well wait until the morning and call the hospital.

i literally have only the aqueous cream and these dressings that are like sticky silicone…i don;t even think that they are right ones as there is a picture of feet on the front…

i really hope i can sleep as am feeling so helpless and frustrated worrying about it :frowning:

Hi Twinxle

Sorry to hear you are having a tough time. Did you have checks by a nurse whilst you were having rads. You could try going back to the hospital and asking to see a nurse re dressings. I have found Mepilex dressings really good. Read some of the other threads on rads burns you may pick up some good ideas.

Geliperm dressings are good and Aloe Vera Gel 99.9% from Holland & Barrett is also mentioned by many people as being very soothing.

All the best -Diana

Did they give you masses of booklets?? look through and see if one has phone numbers. In our hospital the nurse in charge of the condition of your breast is called a cancer care specialist, in other hospitals its a skin nurse, or if all else fails there should be the number of your breast care team. Ring them and they will sort you out.

I have only come across one of these specialist nurses that was less than 100% helpful and i think that was just cos she did not understand my needle problem, next time i spoke to her about other things she was brilliant. I think their job requires extra training and is better funded and so they get good job satisfaction from looking after us.

Thanks guys for all your advice. My radiology nurse specialist is on holidays this week, but I have left a message for her.

I have tried the mepilex lite and a few other dressings to go over the top of the oooze, but my skin still seems to just peel off with it.

I am seeing the nurses at the gp surgery, however the only other person they have seen with rads burns was in her 80’s.

It has been two weeks and they are still very open, ooozing and spreading.

I have read a radiologist oncologist’s report on the matter and he says that although they may look infected, they very rarely do get infected. I just have to keep taking my temperature to make sure.

Bathing them in salt water does sting a little, but at least i feel like I am doing something to help.

I know it will just take time to heal, but I am still a little impatient after all, I have had 10 months of treatment already and I just want to move on.

Thanks again for all your posts.

yours sincerely

Lone xxx

people on here are swearing by actiform cool. see if your gp can recommend that.

Nurse on holiday? there must be someone there covering for her, they realy are better to advise you than a GP, but then i dont know how near your hospital is.

hi , try washing gently with baby soap, dry with either a fan or cool blowing hair drier, and let the air get 2 it as much as possible, lock your door and draw the blinds and go topless all day, i found these things helped xx angie

I burned badly and eventually got the actiform cool gel sheets which were heaven ,cool to put on and neat to use.
Good luck!

So sorry you have been burned I was also but the district nurse came every day to dress them and she brought Safetac dressings which protected them and a very cooling gel and with a light bra or a tight t-shirt to keep them in place we managed fairly well.
Strangely enough once it started to heal it went away very quickly leaving silvery marks. But I am still very angry about being so badly burned and my skin is still very dark where it was radiated in January.
Best of luck,

Another vote for Mepilex - the rads ward recommended it and gave me the name to ask my GP for a prescription - they didn’t have nay big enuf for my toasty bits!!

Good luck all - it does clear, and I don’t have any hair in my armpit 18 months after rads so 1 good efffect!!

Have just finished rads and have bad rad burns under my breast. As I am 77 my boobs are no longer perky and really hurt in the crease underneath which has lost skin and is so raw and sore and sweaty. Has anyone ever heard of a sling of some kind which can lift your boob up from rubbing against the skin on my chest and underside of boob. My GP has given me Timodine which would appear to be an excellent product but cannot see how skin can grow back and heal with skin being covered, Bra is out of question as bottom edge right on soreness Any help appeciated Thanks

there seem to be a few posts about bad burns under the breast. is that from women whoes cancer were low down in the breast. Or is it from people like me who are less than perky and gather sweat there?? People say getting the air to it help, well I am never going to get air under there.

I wonder if baby powder would help if you used it before the burns start?? probably a daft idea but I will discuss it with my nurse next week. Another question to add to the list.

Hi Isablyn

Welcome to the forums. Sorry to hear you’re suffering with the rads burns. Could I suggest you give the helpline here a ring the nurses may be able to suggest something that will help you. The helpline is open again tomorrow, Monday at 9am - 5pm, calls are free, 0808 800 6000.

Hope this helps.

Jo, Facilitator

OAL, I know what you mean about getting air on it there, I’m big busted and found that getting air to it did help but it wasn’t a pretty sight - I’d lay topless on my bed and gently support the breast upwards so air could circulate! Thank goodness the neighbours couldn’t see!!!