Has anyone ever had radiotherapy for a bad skin problem?

I have had eczema all my life to varying degrees approx 29years ago my hands and feet became so bad that the skin got very thick and split into deep fissures nothing made any difference in the end the dermatologist that I was seeing said the only treatment available would be to have radiotherapy on my hands. I had 6 sessions 2 weeks apart and it worked my hands have never been as bad since and with the use of salycilic acid I was able to control my feet too. 8 years ago I became very ill with what turned out to be autoimmune disease including raynauds vasculitis connective tissue disease and bits from lots of others, I mentioned to my GP about the radiotherapy I had received and he said that was very drastic he has never heard of anyone having this for skin problems.

I would love to hear if anyone else has heard of this.

5 Replies

  • I read once about radiotherphy being used as a treatment for skin problems in the 1900's, but fell out of favour due to side effects (i'm very suprised it's still about!).Phototherapy would be a more common treatment for chronic eczema today. Another choice is infrared therapy (this has been about along time but is not very well known, and can take time to achieve results, however has little to no reported side effects, so appears to be a safer option).

  • Thank for replying Yaffle, I definitely had radiotherapy I had to wear a lead apron and the rest of my arms were masked with lead the operator stood in a small sealed cubicle too. This was back in the eighties I was only 20 at the time and never questioned why that was necessary so I still do not know why they resorted to it.


  • Me! When I was about 19 (1982) I developed ezcema which was ascribed to an allergy to nickel. This manifested itself in weeping ezcema followed by patches of itchy thickened and cracked skin on my arms, neck and strangely one buttock. I was eventually referred to a specialist in Leeds who treated me with what he referred to as x-ray therapy, but I guess it was radiotherapy like yours. I had the lead apron too - not too bad on arms and neck, but a tiny bit embarrassing lying there with my then scabby right buttock poking out. Still, after about six treatments it went away and NEVER came back, no scarring, nothing - after all the steroid creams and so on, this felt like a miracle to me. 30 years later I still avoid contact with all forms of jewellery (rings excepted) as I can feel the familiar itching beginning immediately if I try to wear earrings and necklaces. Whenever I tell people about my treatment they look sceptical and, like you, I've never before come across anyone else who's had the same. Would be interested to learn if you're also from the Leeds area and if we were both treated by the same specialist. Slightly troubled to learn from Yaffle that there are side effects - apart from my hairy palms and my three heads, I never noticed anything strange, did you?

  • Thanks for answering madmin, it was approx 1982/83 when I had my treatment it was done at Scunthorpe General Hosp and like you it was put down to allergy but of unknown substance. Mine was definitely referred to as radiotherapy and I remember the warmth when they did the treatment. I only had it done on my hands but they were pretty bad at the time I couldn't move them without splitting more and getting blood every where I constantly had infections and it was hard to use my hands. I don't have the hairy hands but the extra fingers are helpful-he he he.

  • When I was 16 years old I had radiotherapy on my hands every week for 6 weeks at a hospital in Manchester,my skin problem I had never came back,I am 51 years old

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