Creams to use for radiotherapy

I am about to start a 5 day course of radiotherapy after successful WLE for primary breast cancer. At my CT scan I asked if I should start moisturising my breast in case it gets sore. The nurse said to carry on with my normal skincare regime and not start using anything new in case I had a reaction to the new cream which would confuse whether it was the cream or the radiotherapy causing the problem! However, my ‘regime’ does not include moisturising my breasts! And having read a few posts, most people seem to need to use a cream of some sort during and/or after treatment, and some have been advised to use one BEFORE treatment starts.
Any advice out there??


I was the same, I would never think of using moisturiser on my breasts before breast cancer. I am due to start radiotherapy on 17th April, and have been advised by the radiographers and the MacMillan breast cancer nurse to use Zerobase, which I got on prescription from my doctor. 

I’ve been massaging this into my breast twice a day, morning and night, and it does seem to have made the skin around my wound softer.

Good luck with your treatment

Hammy xx

I was told to use e45 cream when i start radiotherapy.  I will be starting  sessions on 17.04.23.

I was told not to start using the E45 until i see a redness or itching over the area.

I was told i will get a further call before i start the session.

I will be contacting the breast care nurses for further clarification.

Hi Geeps 

It can be confusing , what I think they mean and what I was told is don’t try any new skincare products during or for a couple of months after - stick with something that you know doesn’t irritate your skin. 

I was also advised to avoid Sudocrem 

Having said that my friend was prescribed Aveeno by her treatment centre and having read some other posts this seems to be something that a lot of people have used successfully I used jojoba oil as it’s gentle and pure and I had bought it for something else but not used it . 

I also would not have previously moisturised my breast area either ( at least not frequently ) but I did moisturise twice a day at least during treatment and for a couple of months after as there was some redness and dryness around the nipple . If you’re moisturising before a treatment make sure it’s a good couple of hours before so that it has absorbed before you go as they don’t like you to have anything on your skin during treatment . I only started moisturising the day before as I can get spots in this area if I over moisturise - I thought this might happen with intensive moisturising and was concerned about it in case I got spots which might in conjunction with radiotherapy cause my skin to breakdown but I never got spots and my skin remained intact .

Hope this helps and good luck x

Hi Geeps,

noticed that you posted about moisturising creams to use during radiotherapy.  I had 15 sessions back in 2019 and i used Aveeno right the way through with no problems.  I used it before my session but ONLY if there was 2-3 hours before my appt and again before i got dressed afterwards.  Over the weekend when i didnt have session i moisturised 2 times a day.  Hope this helps. ( couldnt use E45 i was allergic to it ).

if you wanna chat get in touch.  Good luck with everything. X 

Hi @Geeps  

@when I turned up for my first session of radiotherapy, the radiologist gave me a big squeezey bottle of flamigel and advised me to use it twice a day, which I did. I was also told to put on E45 in between if skin dry. My skin did go bright red with some itching but not as bad as I’ve heard some others get.

I was told if I was concerned to call up as they could swap to something else if needed.

Hope that helps.


I saw Oncologist 28th June and sounds similar planning to you, about after a (clear) WLE, and needing 5 sessions of radiotherapy.  Consultant definitely said to begin moisturising arms, breasts and surrounding area before radiotherapy starts and doing deep breathing exercises.  She mentioned E45 as an example of cream I could use.   I’ve been using Aveno spray moisturiser  as I had 2 sprays already at home.  I hope that’s OK to use.  I don’t like rubbing my much smaller breast and under breast too much as still lumpy and very tender post op.  (Hopefully that is normal).   Unlike you I have absolutely no idea when radiotherapy will begin.  I called and they’ve not even received a referral yet so I will be chasing up as the not knowing and waiting are torture.

Hi Bluebell22

Oh I do know about the interminable waiting - you just want it all to be DONE!

I was surprised not to be advised to moisturise - until it might be needed! I did it anyway and in the end didn’t get any soreness or even redness. I even wondered if they’d actually turned the machine on when I didn’t feel any effects! After a few weeks I did get some discomfort down my side when I lay on it which the review nurse said might be radiotherapy - she said with the short 5 day course they were seeing side effects later than with the old regime. I get twinges in my breast and nipple now but it’s still early days when you think how it all has to have time to recover. And some of it may be scar tissue. Keep exercising your arm! Tiredness wasn’t too bad - just stop and be kind to yourself if it hits you - and get a good book/mag!

BIG help for me at the first planning session was practicing a relaxation trick that was on the hospital app I downloaded (Velindre in S Wales). There were a couple of suggestions - I practised a bit of breathing and concentrating on gravity ‘inviting’ me to sink and relax. It really worked! Especially as there was a young man in training on my planning session!! I just thought “Oh well…they’ve seen it all before” and I did the relaxation thing letting gravity relax me and I actually found the whole thing really interesting! And the young man was far more nervous than me, and so considerate. It helped that they had a beautiful back-lit bluebell wood picture on the ceiling!

The deep breathing went OK - if you run out of breath they just pause the machine. I would have liked a bit more feedback - they just kept saying “it’s fine! All good!” And really, it was!

Good luck…I know waiting can feel like forever.

I forgot to recommend RadChat on Instagram. A surgeon who had breast cancer herself discusses everything about radiotherapy with a couple of radiologists - really very helpful and worth watching. It prepared me so well! I knew what they were doing and why - they often don’t have time, or forget to tell you things at treatment!

I have finished my 5 sessions and had my Radiologist review so the info I was given may help…

Aveeno was recommended rather than E45 before treatment - any moisturiser can be used afterwards, but not a new one you haven’t tried before. My area don’t give Flamigel out anymore due to costs (the balance of free parking!) but will prescribe it if necessary. Also, pop your moisturiser in the fridge during treatment so it cools your boob ?

My treatment began 8 weeks after surgery, this is in Cheshire so under the care of Clatterbridge Cancer Centre.

Hi Flossie,

as per my earlier post i reacted to E 45 as in it gave me a rash so i used Aveeno all the way through and had no problem apart from some light redness mainly under my boob and for that i just popped a folded mans cotton hanky in my bra.