unbearable itching after radiotherapy

Hi all, its a week after radiotherapy finished, and I am getting unbearable itching, been given hydrocortisone cream after E45 didnt work,but that doesnt work either, anybody got any tips. Skin is very red and blotchy, ive been told that sometimes there are blisters and weeping also havent got that yet, just need to stop this itching, Help, thanks !!willowcat, xx


My rads team recommended antihistamines. My GP prescribed certrazine - the same thing as piriteze. They def helped!
Pure aloe vera gel is alos very cooling - particularly if you keep it in the fridge!


Hi Willowcat,
I remember having that awful soreness and itching!
Like DJ007 I also used pure aloe vera from the fride. I found it the most soothing thing of all!!
Hope the itching subsides soon.
Esme x

Thanx DJ007 and Esme will pop to shops tomorrow and get some, thanx for the tips!!!luv itchy scratchy willowcat xxx

I saw my GP the day after I’d finished radiotherapy as my skin was itchy and sore. She suggested I use Bepanthen which is a nappy rash cream - I was surprised but gave it a go and my skin was much better within the day and now a week later I have only one patch of slightly peeling skin left.

Hi! I actually made the humungous effort to make a username etc after spending a frantic 24 hours trying to find clues for relief from scratching… it was so awful that I had to share! I was using E45 cream & 1% Antihistimine as advised. Seemed fine. Had a weekend break before 14th & 15th rads and all hell let loose itching wise… went for radio Monday and the radiologists did the inward hissing between the teeth thing at sight of my glowing, rashy and weeping boob which, strangely, made me feel better and less of a wuss!
Relief came this way: firstly radiologists suggested I was sensitive to the lanolin in the E45 (even though I hadn’t considered this as previously skin so insensitive could happily bathe in bleach unharmed) and so switch to aqueous cream. Check no lanolin in the 1% hydrocortisone - no. Consultant agreed no prob with taking antihistamines (with tamoxifen).
RESULT! After 2 days MUCH MUCH less itching but wasn’t sure if due to aqueous cream or antihistamine as started at same time. Then, yesterday, (4 days in) forgot to take the antihistamine in morning… oh, yep, antihistamine is doing its bit.
CONCLUSION: Even if you think your skin is normally as tough as leather go for the aqueous cream. Make sure no lanolin in your 1% hydrocortisone. Try a one-a-day antihistamine: there are some with only one ingredient out of two. Morrisons does an ‘own brand’ with a combination of the two which is cheap. DO NOT wear tight fitting sports bra tops etc unless, like me, you went to a nice restaurent tonight and didn’t want to trip over boobs. Then you will be sorry after half an hour. Yep.

Hi Mary, just coming to the end 2 treatments to go. Used aqueous all through and so far not too bad. Had very slight sore area under breast and spots. Put very slight amount of Germolene on them and they have disappeared!. I have also taken a multi vit/ mineral and take booster vit c every couple of days as that I think helps skin repair. In the book I was given to prepare for rad treatment it said not to take multi vit / mineral as some contents clash with treatment.I asked the interviewing radiographer at the beginning about this and she said I could take them as no real proof it causes any problems. Think that has helped so even now if you are not taking a multivitamin/ mineral it might help your skin repair. Anyway wish you all the best. I have just bought a small bedside fan as get so hot at night and sleep topless anyway . At least you have got through it now and i can’t wait as going everyday for nearly four weeks is an ordeal to say the least!. Best wishes Katy.

I start my 15 rads on tuesday and someone suggested RaLife cream or milk. To use instead of aqueous cream.
Has anyone any info on these

thanks Ann

Hi Mary 290260, finished rads last Wednesday and prickly heat rash has appeared on Friday. I am off to chemist this am to get
histimine tabs you suggest. Tried putting antiseptic cream on and it only stops the itching for a short time. Wandering around with just t- shirt on and nothing at bedtime which helps. The little sore area under the breast has healed with the antiseptic cream
( germolene). Everyone in family laughs at me as I use it in everything!!! Anyway feeling a bit whacked but it does depend on how much I do so pacing myself. Also buying some 50 factor sun cream to use on clevage area after I get rid of the rash! Told this is best and to put it on everday when going out and about.
Ann W best of luck for starting rad treatment tomorrow. If you have been following various blogs on subject you get some good tips. if your treatment centre does not give you a ’ modesty top’ or gown like mine did not might be good idea to get a cotton vest top to wear. You can just slide it down as you get to the table you have to lie on. The first time is daunting but once you get into the swing of it it gets better. I found after a week I couldn’t tolerate a bra anyway. I have not heard of the cream you asked about but aqueous is cheap and done the trick for me. Put I on twice away to begin with. Let us know how it goes. Katy.

I start 18 rads on Thursday this week. Like several ladies on this thread I had WLE (clear margins) and a SNB which was clear. ER positive, HER negative, small tumour and as 57 years of age oncologist did not think chemo appropriate so am on Anastrozole for 5 years and the radiotherapy.
Can anyone tell me is it just the immediate breast area that can react with sore skin or is it a wider area? Also has anyone found alternative therapies to help with relaxation and wellbeing? I often have reflexology but was wondering if any other therapies have helped anyone?

The effect is very localised to the area they are treating. During mine I sat out one day in the sun for only about 20 mins, and there was a pink stripe across the top of my chest about 1" wide where the rads and my neckline had underlapped, if you follow my drift! Other than that my skin was fine. I used E45 as although the stuff in the tubs has lanolin, they do an intensive repair lotion which hasn’t got lanolin, it’s unperfumed and a lovely consistency. It comes in a bottle with a red top, quite often on special offer at Superdrug. Your arm and shoulder can hurt from having them above your head while you are treated, so keep up with the exercises and give them a bit of a massage while you are moisturising.
Good luck

Thanks for that! I will go to Superdrug tomorrow and see if they have the E45 you mention. My skin isn’t overly sensetive so hopefully will be OK…

Have found your posts very useful, particularly as my position is similar to yours. Had WLE and am now on Anastrazolefor 5 years and start 19 rads on may 2nd. Thanks everyone for the tips. X

Best thing I found for getting stopping all the redness, soreness and itching was coconut oil. I bought some in a health food shop - organic, virgin coconut oil which is white and solid in the jar and then melts on the skin. It was fairly cheap too for a small jar. It worked for me literally within days after trying all the conventional stuff without success and I had no problems after that and all the redness disappeared. (Makes a great skin moisturiser anyway when you’re skin gets very dry.)
I did ring the radiotherapy dept first to check it was okay for me to switch to that and I’d recommend anyone do that first.
Elinda xx

Hi katy
I did get a ‘modesty vest’ supplied and on to 3rd session today. They gave me QV cream to use its a new one they have decided to use now.
I asked them about the soreness I still have inside my breast from op and they said to see nurse at clinic next Tues so I’ll have to put up with it till then but its very sore parecetamol doesnt shift it.

Started my course today, 1st of 18. Appointment was at 5pm but told as soon as I got there that delay was 40 minutes! Everyone very nice and treatment wasn’t a problem, just felt very, very surreal.
I have been very thirsty since the session so taking lots of water on board and feel a bit tired now. Thanks for all tips re creams etc, a lady at the hospital told me to use the Aqueous liberally 2 or 4 times a day and to use instead of soap on treated area. She only had a couple of sessions left and her skin was perfect.
South Coast Beach Girl we do sound very similar diagnosis wise, in fact my full diagnosis was on 15/02/13 just a day after you. Did you find lump yourself? I found mine on New Years Eve just 18 months after a clear mammogram! The lump was only 1.3cms. How are you finding the Anastrazole? I must admit I am not too bad, a little stiff in the legs of a morning and been tired too but maybe that could just be the emotional rollercoaster of the last 3 or 4 months, also I get quite warm at times. Might be interesting to keep in touch through radiotherapy to share our experience?
Don’t know where you are being treated but if you have a hospital near you that offers the Look Good Feel Better workshops it’s well worth booking on one. I went to one a couple of weeks ago at the linda McCartney Centre in Liverpool (not being treated there but was nearest to my home town) and I really enjoyed it. The 3 other ladies attending were all undergoing chemo as well so it made realise how lucky, in the world of BC, that I have been, in fact I actually bumped into one of them today as she was waiting for her radiotherapy!

Hi Ann,pleased to hear your unit gave you a ‘modesty vest’ as I really think,they need to remember how not everyone wants to be treated as if they are just a number. I know they are professional and see so many’ boobs ’ they probably don’t think about them belonging to anyone!. I rarely saw the same staff so just got used to it eventually.
If the paracetamol is not strong enough phone your breast care nurse and get some advice as you may need a prescription for something slightly stronger.
Two days after I finished my 15 rads I developed a prickly heat rash in the middle of chest and to the top of the treated breast. It drove me mad!!! I got some antihistamine on the advice of a lady on this site and it helped what was was really magic was the Aloe Vera gel 99.9% pure my darling daughter bought me. Think might be a bit pricy but it completely cooled it down. I am still using it as still there but much better now. Also, so slight break under breast but putting germolene on that and it is healing without a dressing. I thought I was going to get away with hardly anything, as upto last treatment skin had been good. Taking a multi vit/ mineral and upping my vit c by eating more fruit.
The periods of feeling exhausted like my battery had been drained which started at about the tenth treatment,lasted a week and seemed to have gone. I have been busy but trying to remember to rest as well in between. Apparently the last rad keeps working for two weeks afterwards so another 5 days and I should stop glowing in the dark! Joke, that does not really happen!
The Anastrozole is giving me a lot of hot flushes though so thinking of ways to manage that so any tips anyone?? Take care Ann and the rest of you ladies with your rad treatment. I got very elated when I got half way ! Katy.

no I had no idea - had first mammogram ever and got the letter asking me back to the hospital and before I knew it, it was biopsy time and a bc diagnosis was round the corner! Totally unexpected and quite surreal. Not sure even now I have quite taken it all in, but like you, I feel fortunate that the bbc hasn’t spread to the lymph nodes and that rads and Anastrazole only are on the cards. I had a haematoma after surgery which has caused loads of problems and needed needle aspiration twice. also delayed rads twice.
i am having very similar se to you on Anastrazole. One week in and very tired and achy shoulders, neck and arms, but also low level headache that seems to hover in the background. Plus rather warm like you And generally a bit wobbly but guess it is all part of the immense roller coaster that we have been through. I will see if anywhere near me does the workshops you mention and will def keep in touch over the coming days and weeks. It’s good to meet you. X

just replied to your post but can’t see it yet. Quite new to the forum so wonder if there is a delay between posting and reply appearing…?

About to start first of my rads tomorrow and thinking of you. Hope all going well for you and that se not too bad. Have bought a large pot of aqueous cream from Boots, got my water bottle ready and just want to get on with it now. Still very tired and achy from Anastrazole so hoping that the rads don’t make it all too much worse. Let me know how you are when you have a chance. x