Underarm Care after Recovery from Lymph Node Removal

Last Modified: May 28, 2006


Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

All my treatment has now finished, all body hair has grown back, and I am wondering about the hair under my arm where I had the lymph nodes removed with my mastectomy. What is the best method of hair removal, and should I avoid deodorant under this arm, or is roll-on ok? How do you care for this underarm?


Nancy Zieber, RN, MSN, CRNP, Oncology/Hematology Nurse Practitioner, responds:

An electric shaver would be the best. You can use a regular one as well, but of course you must be very careful not to cut yourself. That should not be such a problem now as they make safety razors and also razors with aloe to make the skin more smooth. Some women do not experience much hair growth in the radiated axilla (underarm), so you may find that the need for shaving is less in the radiated area compared with the opposite side. I think deodorant is fine, either roll-on or solid, although some women will experience less perspiration after radiation.


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