Having radiation therapy can cause some physical changes, such as feeling tired or nauseated and having skin reactions. Your child might have some of these for several weeks after radiation therapy. Sometimes they last several months, but this is rare. Most of them will go away with time.
This article tells you some things to expect after your child’s radiation treatment ends. If you have questions, you can always ask your child’s doctor or nurse.
Skin reactions and care
Skin reactions might get worse for 7 to 10 days after your child’s last radiation treatment. It is important to gently clean and moisturize the skin each day during this time. Use a mild soap, such as Dove® or another soap without deodorant or perfume. Also use the skin cream your child’s doctor prescribed for radiation treatment. Do this for at least 2 weeks after the last treatment.
Call the radiation clinic if the skin reaction gets worse or more painful, or if your child gets a fever.
Using sunscreen after radiation treatment
Your child’s skin might be more sensitive to sun in the treatment area. Try to avoid direct sun, and always use sunscreen with a SPF of at least 30.
Eating and drinking
Your child might be less hungry for a few weeks after radiation treatment ends. Try to get them to eat a well-balanced diet. They should also drink at least six (6) 8-ounce glasses of water a day.
Keep giving anti-nausea medicine if your child is taking it. They should take this for at least 2 weeks after radiation treatment ends. Your doctor might tell you to give it for a longer or shorter time. Make sure you have some nausea medicine at home for your child, in case the nausea comes back. If the medicine does not work, call the radiation clinic.
Rest and activities
Radiation therapy might make your child feel tired. They might have low energy for weeks or even months after therapy ends. Their body is working hard to repair itself, so they need plenty of rest. You might need to change your normal routine so your child can get enough rest.
Your child may return to school and routine activities immediately after radiation therapy if their doctor approves.
If you have any questions after your child finishes radiation therapy, please call the clinic at 901-595-3655. Clinic hours are 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.
St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.
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