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Radiotherapy Survival Kit

Posted 07 Nov 2019 at 22:23

Hi All,

My darling Dad starts radiotherapy in a couple of weeks and will be receiving treatment over Christmas, New Year and his birthday, while staying at the nearby cancer support accommodation. 

I am planning to put together a gift - a collection of items to help him get through his treatment - and was hoping for some suggestions from those of you who have been through radiotherapy and/or have stayed away from home during treatment. 

I thought about a reusable water bottle as I know he’ll have to drink lots of water before and after his treatment. Any other suggestions would be gratefully received! He has a very good sense of humour so tongue-in-cheek, joke items are welcome as well as thoughtful, practical things. 

Thank you in advance x

Posted 08 Nov 2019 at 02:53

To which area of his body are they doing RT? My husband had it in his cervical spine and it caused some issues with his mouth and lips. I have some suggestions, but if your dad’s RT is elsewhere, my suggestions would not be optimal.

Posted 08 Nov 2019 at 07:23


The RT may or may not have an effect on his continence, if he his struggling to hold his urine in the treatment room, a urine bottle may be useful. More related to the after effects of surgery, I frequently stayed in hotels after my op and although my continence had recovered quite well I was paranoid about wetting a hotel bed. I would get into bed with a tena 2 pad inside my pants and a pair of tena 4 pants over my pants. Hopefully he won't need any of them. 

Thanks Chris

Posted 08 Nov 2019 at 09:59

Thank you, it’s his prostate and surrounding lymph nodes I believe. 

Posted 08 Nov 2019 at 16:35

Some low fibre foods might be useful a few weeks in to treatment. Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes were about the lowest fibre breakfast cereal I could find, or regular Corn Flakes. Porridge also, but make sure no added bran. Peeled apples, peeled pairs, and bananas are OK, but most other fruit is higher in fibre.

From mid-treatment, incontinence pants can add a great feeling of security, even if you manage not to wet yourself. Not needed by everyone though.

Water bottle is a good idea, at least 1/2 litre, one where you can see the fluid level. When they tell you to drink 6 plastic cups, you can easily lose count around number 4. I used a 1/2 litre Pepsi bottle, and I could drink 2 of those (same volume as 6 cups) without losing count on all except one occasion.

Soft toilet roll, wholesale pack, and maybe wet wipes.

Posted 08 Nov 2019 at 16:51
All good info Andy 62 , yes porridge for me was good , I only wet myself once bizarre feeling but hey all part of it! When out and about you got to know where the nearest toilet is plus get a toilet card to show people if needed
Posted 08 Nov 2019 at 18:06
All good info Andy 62 , yes porridge for me was good , I only wet myself once bizarre feeling but hey all part of it! When out and about you got to know where the nearest toilet is plus get a toilet card to show people if needed
Posted 08 Nov 2019 at 21:50

To pass the time I take a Jeremy Clarkson book or two although not everybody enjoys his hyperbole and sense of humour. Because subjects are covered in separate sections it's easy to pick up and put down during waiting time.

From a more practical aspect, you could get some neutral non scented soap as scented soap and shower products should be avoided during the treatment course. One should also keep out of the sun (although not a problem in the UK now!!) Like a number of others I developed a somewhat sore bottom due to the effects of the RT and I was prescribed Bepanthen cream (available from major supermarkets or pharmacy's) which is very mild and largely used for nappy rash or for mild burns. I was told to lightly dab it on sparingly rather than rub it in. Other radiologists may recommend different ointment so you could enquire what they suggest at the treating hospital.

The thing that affected me most was urgency and frequency to urinate and I ascertained where all the conveniences were on my way to and from the hospital. I subsequently obtained one of the variants of the 'Conveen' system whereby urine is ducted into a bag worn on the hip or leg via a tube that is connected to a replaceable sheath on the penis. This was approved by my GP. Had I had it earlier it would have caused less stress. In fact I wore it on long journeys for a couple or so months after RT.

Edited by member 08 Nov 2019 at 21:56  | Reason: Not specified

Posted 09 Nov 2019 at 11:26
Find out how many sessions, then give the appropriate number, for example:

37 individually wrapped identical presents, containing 1 tissue, 1 wet wipe (in a bit of cling film?), 1 plan of the hospital, with toilets highlighted in red, one paperback book (raid the charity shops), one item of nutrition...

He'll probably never speak to you again, but hey, you can always adopt another dad ...


-- Andrew --

"I intend to live forever, or die trying" - Groucho Marx

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