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External Beam Radiation Therapy
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
External beam radiation therapy (EBRT) is used to kill cancer cells or stop them from spreading. EBRT is also used to decrease pain caused by bone metastasis. Radiation is a very strong type of x-ray.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
You may need to return for blood tests or regular radiation treatments. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Care for your skin:
EBRT may make your skin red and dry. It may start to bleed, flake, or peel off. The following suggestions can help you care for your skin:
- Wash your skin, hair, and scalp with a mild shampoo. Do not scrub your skin. Pat yourself dry with a towel. Do not soak for a long time as this can make your skin more dry.
- Use gentle or unscented lotions or creams. Ask what type of lotion or cream would be best to use on your skin.
Eat a variety of healthy foods:
Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. You may need to eat more calories than usual. Work with a dietitian to plan the best meals and snacks for you. Ask if you should add vitamins to your diet. Healthy foods can help do any of the following:
- Provide the protein, carbohydrates, and other nutrients your body needs
- Help you feel better during treatment and decrease treatment side effects
- Decrease your risk for infection
- Help you have more energy and feel stronger
- Help you maintain a healthy weight and heal more quickly
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have a fever, chills, and body aches.
- Your skin is bleeding or peeling off.
- Your pain is worse.
- You have nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- You feel lightheaded, short of breath, and have chest pain.
- You cough up blood.
- Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
- You have severe pain.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.