Jean, the information I read related to the possible shorter duration was for Beaumont Hospital..I think in their news section. Still under study, but exciting anyway.
I used an aloe gel that I got from the drug store, called fruit of the earth. I had no real problems, but all of us will react differently, regardless of what creams to use. Be sure to ask the doc about some options.
The rad is over so fast, when you come out, your DH will say "that's it?" and you'll smile and nod. You'll only have to hold your arm in position for maybe 30 seconds at a time, so it is much easier than the simulation.