Hot and cold after radiotherapy

Good evening, I like to wild swim and currently have a sauna with cold dips every ten minutes. is it Ok to continue with this as long as my skin is OK?
The water s a freshwater lake.

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I would be keen to know about this too. Obviously I think there is an immediate concern about skin irritation but also a longer term worry with lymphedema risk. Hopefully one of the nurses can pass on some good advice soon. X

Hi gillid

Thanks for posting.

I’m unsure if you are still having or have recently completed your radiotherapy.

Some people do have a skin reaction during or after radiotherapy treatment and it is best to avoid exposing the treated area to very hot or cold temperatures such as hot water bottles, heat pads, saunas or ice packs during treatment. Avoiding infection which can be a risk with wild swimming is also important.

The Society and College of Radiographers has information about skin reactions and how to care for your skin which you may find useful. Whilst they don’t make a specific reference to wild swimming, they do say you can swim if your skin isn’t blistered or peeling and suggest you shower after swimming. It’s also important to protect the area from direct sunlight.

You can ask your treatment team if they are happy for you to continue with the sauna and cold dips you describe.

Our YouTube channel has some videos about radiotherapy and breast cancer. which you might also find helpful.

We offer a range of free supportive services for anyone who has had a diagnosis of breast cancer which you may be interested in. They include face to face and online courses and events.

Do call our helpline if you would like to talk this through or have any further questions. The helpline team have time to listen, talk things through and signpost you to more support and information if necessary. Your call will be confidential, and the number is free from UK landlines and all mobile networks. The number is 0808 800 6000, (Relay UK - prefix 18001).

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Breast Care Nurse

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