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External Beam Radiation Therapy


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.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2018 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about External Beam Radiation Therapy (Discharge Care)

Associated drugs

IBM Watson Micromedex

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.