July 2023 radiotherapy starters

After what seems forever since my surgery on the 12th April, today is the day!

I start my first of 15 days radiotherapy with boost.

Feeling emotional of what to expect and how I will feel.

Hoping I don’t get a rough ride being a 36J translucent redhead!

Wishing all my fellow July buddies well with their RT.

Red x

Good luck with your first session Red .The first couple of sessions take a bit longer while they position you up ,after that they go alot more quickly .I did feel quite emotional and tearful at times during my sessions , I didn’t like being left alone with the radiotherapy machine buzzing around me , it felt like it was reinforcing the fact that I had cancer . I am also big boobed and had to suffer the indignity of them customising one of my bras to keep my boob in the right position rather than under my arms !! It did make it easier however when the machine broke down one day after they had spent ages lining me up , they told me not move and sent in the repair man !! One of the most surreal experience ever !!!

Yes I too have to wear my bra.

First one done and now smothered in Aveeno.

Worst bit was having my arms above my head for so long.

Wa made better as I  bumped into an old friend who works there so she did my treatment for me.

Same again tomorrow!

That’s good you found a familiar face at the sessions , I met up with someone I met on the forum and someone who had her op at the same time , it was comforting to see people I knew . 

Wishing you well with your RT @Red25. And it’s nice that you met a friend who also did your treatment for you.

I’ll be joining the July RT group. I have my CT planning session next Monday & am waiting for the preparation pack to arrive in the post so a bit apprehensive about not getting it in time to see what it says about DIBH breath hold & skin preparation. 5 sessions of RT starting the week after that. 


@TDG good luck with your appointment, hope your pack arrives in time.

You might want to think about whether you want tattoos.  The one I have at the front I don’t like.  When I was asked if I was happy to have them I said yes,  wish now that I was aware I could have had a non permanent mark.

My head feels a little buzzy this morning so trying to drink lots of water.  Was also told to put my arm up whilst laying down to allow under my boob to air.

I was also told not to wear a bra when possible to avoid irritation.

I’m really conscious of doing everything I can to help my skin stay good.

Also antihistamines for itching.

Now to do my exercises as I’ve been a bit slack and to remember the paracetamol before I go to ease the ache in my shoulder.

Thanks for those tips @Red25, it sounds like you are doing the right things to help minimise skin side effects. Hope all goes well for you today and that hydration (I’ve been drinking ~2 litres a day since surgery, so hopefully that will be sufficient) helps with the buzzy feeling you have. 

My pack just arrived in the post today. I see there that they have mentioned a tattoo-free promise, I will ask how that works when I see them on the day. And I also just looked at a youtube video on DIBH, which now doesn’t look as difficult as I had imagined. So feeling more comfortable.

I started massaging my scar and surrounding skin with aveeno moisturiser a few weeks ago, to help reduce the tightness/cording after axilla surgery, so hoping I can continue with that without it irritating my skin after RT sessions.  

I hadn’t thought about room temperature before, but it says that it’ll be cold. As I’m having chest wall RT, I’m guessing I won’t have a top on and therefore it may feel like I’m freezing. Did you feel shivering cold, or was the temperature manageable?

My CT planning appointment is scheduled for 30 mins and then the actual radiotherapy sessions just 15 mins each. Is it actually that quick?

Second session was quicker than the first. They do spend about 5 mins putting you in the right position.  My arms ached less today and the treatment is about 5 mins.  I was told mine was longer than usual as I’m having two different treatments.

The room I was in is air-conditioned but I didn’t feel cold, however I have plenty of padding!?  I have read that some people have used tights on their arms.

I have been using bio oil on my scar but was told not to use it during RT. I think it has worked well.

Glad you are feeling better now you have your pack.  Hope all goes well x

I’m a July starter, and finisher too - all 5 of my sessions are now behind me.

Aveeno was recommended to me, so that should be OK @TDG, also I was told to keep well hydrated.

My crew marked me up with Sharpies each day, despite my tattoos (which are tiny dark dots, almost like a tiny birthmark).

The breath hold thing is quite easy, it is not for the whole session but several times during it when the crew tell you to.

I wasn’t cold, despite the cool room - it takes as long to get ready & dressed again as the treatment itself so you’ll not be topless for long. The crew laid a piece of paper towel over my boobs once I was lined up to protect my modesty during the session.

Afterwards I had a hot boob - put your moisturiser in the fridge ? - and was weary, but I had a 30m drive each way so not too bad.

Now, 5 days after my last session, I am more tired. I’m getting exhausted and falling asleep mid afternoon, so if I need to do anything I plan for the morning, but it is taking me longer to get up & about now too ?

Hope that helps someone x


So today I’ve decided to ditch the bra.  I don’t think I’m swollen but my seams are leaving dents in my boob.

I found it difficult to get crop tops due to my cup size so have resorted to a cotton vest top.  Not much support but can use a scarf to cover.  My skin has begun to feel warmer.

@Flossie64 hope you are feeling better soon and will put my Aveeno in the fridge.

Wishing everyone a happy Saturday!

@Red25have you tried a post surgery bra? I bought 2 from M&S online, they are lovely & soft with support for my 36Ds and you don’t pay VAT on them ? I had gone back to underwired just before my rads, but have gone back to those as my lymph nodes scar is a bit tender & zingy this week.

 @Flossie64 I am J cup.  I have always bought M&S but I couldn’t have a fitting as the shops don’t stock bigger sizes.  I went to Bravissimo, more expensive but I think much better.  The bra that I wear for treatment is great it is called a Cici.  I may have to get another.  Perhaps the tissue changes as the other side is fine.

I too found my lymph node scar gave me the most discomfort but it is healing well.

Thanks @Flossie64. Good to hear from someone who’s recently completed the 5 sessions. Hope you are managing ok with the fatigue. I’m planning to return to work (from home) the week after on a phased basis and was wondering when the fatigue is likely to hit me (morning or evening), I guess will have to wait and see.

I had my CT planning session yesterday, and the DIBH wasn’t difficult, they did ask me to try it a few times (25 secs each) as my chest was rising up from the bed slightly, apparently because I was breathing too deeply.  The radiographers were able to reassure me, when I mentioned I wanted to avoid my heart and lungs from being included in the CT radiation field. 

They used a combination of stickers and a washable felt pen to mark me up during CT planning. And said no tattoo’s/permanent marks will be used during RT. 

And similar to you, I didn’t feel cold even though the room was cool. The planning didn’t feel like it took that long. They said the actual RT sessions will only take about 3 mins each with breaks in-between, and time to setup.

I’ll remember to put the moisturiser in the fridge, they did tell me they would be giving me a tube of flamigel to use twice a day when I come in for my first session (Aveeno is also ok to use). Also said not to use aluminium based deodorants or regular soaps when I said I use a specific body wash due to sensitive skin - suggested I bring it in for them to check the ingredients. 

Will post an update when done. Sharing the above in case it helps anyone else. xx

1 Like

Hi ladies! 

Good to read your experiences and see that things are going/have gone well. 

I start 15 sessions today. I must admit, I’ve been so busy with lots of other stressful things that I’ve hardly thought about RT. So, head firmly buried in the sand I’ve arrived at today. I just keep telling myself “oh, it’ll be fine”…

I’m mostly worried about the fatigue as I have M.E. and Fibromyalgia as it is, plus I’m recovering from a horrid chest infection so have been off my feet most of the last week already. It’s also the end of term today so the kids (teenagers) are at home. I’m also worried about potentially not wearing a bra as in flat on one side. ??‍♀️ Plus, I don’t want to spend the kids summer holiday locked in my room airing sore red skin…

Ah well… Head firmly back in the sand, it’ll be ok…!!!

Doris xxx

Hi All,

Just thought I’d post an update.

Had my 7th treatment on Friday. So far things are going OK.  Despite being a redhead my skin is good. My boob does feel warm after treatment but not sore.  My scar looks to have improved.

There have been a couple of times when I have had to sleep.  I think because I had a treatment at 8pm and then 8am the next day.  Keeping active definitely helps, it is too easy to feel tired sat on the sofa.  Even ventured to the coast on Friday.

I did decide not to work during treatment as I have a 50 mile round trip and I think that was the right decision.

Hoping that it continues.

8 left to go!

1 Like


Just an update 2 weeks after my last RT session…

My skin seems to be OK - E45 straight from the fridge after each session helped!

Fatigue-wise I’ve definitely been more exhausted last week & this weekend. I went back to sleep for 3 hours yesterday morning, am in bed with my book by 9pm and struggle to get myself up & going before 10am.

I’ve also felt more emotional & anxious about the future this week too - perhaps because my surgery & treatment are all behind me with just an oncology call late September to come, it feels like I have fallen off the BC roller coaster without a safety net. It’s been 15 weeks since my diagnosis yet so much has happened & I’m not dealing with it very well (living alone doesn’t help). 



I started my radiotherapy today, was really nervous but didn’t need to be as the nurses were lovely.

I didnt have to have tattoos but I am not sure why.

I am having 5 sessions of full breast external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) which is the most common type for invasive stage 1. 

I had my op 16th May so this is 10 weeks after surgery.

Yet to see whether I will have any side effects. I feel drained already as I tested positive for Covid yesterday so I was masked up and kept away from other patients today and for the rest of my treatment.

With green laser beam lights over my naked boobs and machines whirring and moving about has anyone else felt like they were starring in an adult version of Star Trek in the radiotherapy room or is it just me and my wild imagination ?

1 Like

Hi Scubagirl , it certainly can be a bit of a surreal experience . Sorry you have Covid to deal with too x

Hi Scubagirl,

Yes, it’s a bit James Bond isn’t it?! ?

Your skin may well go red & your boob will likely feel hot, but most side effects generally kick in after a week or so as its a cumulative thing. I’ve definitely felt worst 10-16 days after mine finished, and on Saturday had to send family home at 8.30pm so I could go to bed!


Hope everyone is well. Just noticed that the forum is available for new posts after the upgrade now, getting used to the new layout & wish the latest posts appear at the top rather than scrolling down to the bottom…

Thought I’d post an update as I finished my 5 day radiotherapy course 12 days ago.

So far I’ve not had many significant side-effects, sharing what I did notice in case it helps anyone else. Scar tissue area was sensitive (on & off stinging sensation) during week 1, but subsided after that. My skin also feels mildly itchy in the chest & armpit area at times. Arm movement has gradually become tighter as the days have progressed, but I’m thinking that’s because I’ve not been able to do my usual scar tissue massage since radiotherapy started. I’m now waiting for week 3 to restart my regular skincare routine, currently just applying flamigel twice a day as instructed by the radiographers, while continuing with arm stretching exercises. Skin has gone slightly darker, a bit like sunburn, but nothing significant. I’ve been napping a bit in the afternoon since day 10, not sure if that’s due to radiotherapy fatigue or due to joining the 12 week wellness exercise clinic at my treatment centre. I feel good while exercising but achy the day after.
@Scubagirl there was a star trek feel in the radiotherapy room :smiley:. Hope you have recovered from covid and are doing alright now.

I’ve also just registered for the moving forward course today, & trying to get a phased return to work plan in place as well.