It is important to keep scheduled appointments. If unable to keep an appointment please call us at (631) 376-4047.
At Good Samaritan, we understand that the diagnosis of cancer is a “lifechanging” event. The Medical Center offers many support groups for cancer patients and their families, run by specially trained professionals. Groups are available for spouses, signifi cant others, family and friends, as well as for patients newly diagnosed. “Look Good, Feel Better,” a cosmetic program for women undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy, is also offered. If interested in any of these programs, please call (631) 376-3736 between 8 am and 4 pm.
Follow your usual diet as tolerated. Drink a lot of fl uids to maintain bowel function. If taking pain medication containing a narcotic, check with your doctor. A stool softener may be recommend to avoid constipation. Try to maintain your weight. If you have a problem eating, let us know. You may need to speak to a dietitian.
Prior to radiation therapy, routine activities should be continued. About half-way to two-thirds through treatment, you may begin to feel tired. This is known as fatigue, which is a temporary side effect. It will gradually disappear after completing treatment.
Plan to rest often. Take energy level into account when planning work or social activities. Consider asking for help with activities such as meal preparation, house cleaning, child care, etc. If additional assistance is required, we can arrange to have a social worker speak with you.
Often, exercise can maintain and rebuild strength. Taking a short walk between meals may help. If you should have feelings of irritability, unusual depression, sleeping problems or pain, let us know.
About a month after your last radiation treatment, an appointment to see the doctor will be scheduled. Although, it may be necessary to see you sooner depending on side effects. It may be necessary to continue follow up appointments at 3, 6 and 12 months. You may be asked to have additional X-rays, CT Scans or blood work for these appointments. We will let you know in advance, if this is necessary. If you have experienced any side effects from the radiation treatment, they may continue for an additional two to four weeks. Continue treating these side effects as you have been. They will eventually dimish. Be sure to let your primary care physician or radiation oncologist know if you develop:
- Fever above 101 degrees
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Mouth sores
- Diffi culty swallowing
- Bleeding from any area
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty urinating
*** If you have any questions regarding treatment, please feel free to ask one of the nurses or doctors, they will be happy to help you. ***
SKIN CARE GUIDELINES
Your skin is exposed to radiation during treatments. Skin has remarkable repair capabilities, but may show some signs of change after two to three weeks. Skin may become dry, itchy, red, irritated, tanned or sunburned in the treatment area. These reactions are normal and temporary. They will gradually improve after completion of radiation.
1. Tattoos are permanent. Normal skin care should be followed, unless otherwise advised.
2. Wash treatment area with warm water only. If you feel you must use soap, use something mild, such as Dove. Wash the skin gently and rinse thoroughly with water; pat dry. Do not rub the skin.
3. DO NOT apply lotions, perfumes or powder to the treatment area, unless otherwise instructed. Cornstarch may be used as a powder substitute. Be sure to wash it off thoroughly two hours before treatment time (as well as anything else you might have applied to the skin), as it may cake and enhance the chance of a skin reaction.
4. Avoid tight clothing over treatment area. Loose, cotton clothes are recommended.
5. Keep treatment area clean, dry and open to air as much as possible.
6. Avoid trauma to the skin.
7. Avoid exposure of treatment area to the sun. Continue to take precautions for at least one year after finishing radiation. Always use sunscreen of at least SPF15.
8. If you must shave skin in treatment area, use only an electric razor throughout the treatment period. Do not use aftershave lotion.
9. Avoid extreme temperatures. Do not put ice or heat on treatment area unless instructed. Hot water bottles, heat lamps or electric heating pads should not be used.
10. Tape, gauze or any type of dressing should not be used on the treatment area, unless instructed.
11. From the start of your radiation treatments, it is advised to use vitamin E oil or 100% Aloe gel (clear gel – no additives) on the treatment area before bedtime to prevent dryness.
12. If you should develop a skin reaction, please report it to the nurse or doctor.