Silicone dressings reduce painful skin reactions following radiation for breast cancer, study finds

November 1, 2012
The dressing has been applied to one side (M). The difference in skin reaction is apparent.

(Medical Xpress)—Skin reactions following radiation therapy for breast cancer have been the focus of a recent clinical trial conducted by Dr Patries Herst from the Department of Radiation Therapy, University of Otago, Wellington and a team of radiation therapists in public hospitals in Dunedin, Wellington and Palmerston North and Auckland Radiation Oncology.

The findings of the study, recently published in the international journal Cancer Science and Therapy, show that silicone based dressings decrease painful caused by better than conventional aqueous cream.

The investigated the effect of silicone based Mepilex Lite dressings on the severity of painful skin reactions experienced by 80 women treated with radiation therapy for . The affected skin was divided into two equal halves; one half was randomized to be treated with dressings and the other with aqueous control cream.

The dressings decreased both the visible signs of the skin reactions as well as the severity of the symptoms. Most patients preferred the dressings over the cream and found them easy to use and comfortable to wear.

"These results will be of great benefit to people undergoing radiation therapy for breast and head and neck cancers as radiation can cause severe skin reactions by damaging the cells responsible for skin renewal and this really impacts on their quality of life," says lead researcher Dr Patries Herst.

The severity of the reactions varies from redness to flaking to weeping and ulceration. Severe skin reactions are extremely painful particularly in places where clothing rubs and presses on the damaged skin. There is currently no standard treatment for these skin reactions.

The dressings do not contain any chemicals but stop friction between the fragile skin and clothing, giving the radiation damaged skin time to heal. A very thin layer of silicon allows the dressings to stick closely to healthy skin but not to weeping skin, making them easy and painless to remove.

Dr Herst is continuing her investigations into the use of these dressings and hopes that they will become part of standard care in radiation therapy departments in New Zealand in the near future.

Breast cancer is the most common malignancy in New Zealand women; around 2800 women are diagnosed every year, with a significant number receiving radiation therapy as part of their treatment.

Explore further: Vitamin C may enhance radiation therapy for aggressive brain tumors

Related Stories

Vitamin C may enhance radiation therapy for aggressive brain tumors

February 17, 2012
Recent research by the University of Otago, Wellington has shown that giving brain cancer cells high dose vitamin C makes them much more susceptible to radiation therapy.

IMRT reduces risk of side effects in breast cancer patients

March 28, 2012
Breast cancer patients treated with intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) instead of standard whole breast irradiation (WBI) have a lower incidence of acute or chronic toxicities, according to a study in Practical ...

Radiation at time of lumpectomy may offer faster, more precise treatment for breast cancer patients

April 12, 2011
Northwestern Medicine physicians are currently utilizing a new treatment option for breast cancer that allows women to receive a full dose of radiation therapy during breast conserving surgery. Traditionally, women who opt ...

New skin patch treatment kills most common form of skin cancer

June 11, 2012
A customized patch treatment for basal cell carcinoma completely destroys facial tumors without surgery or major radiation therapy in 80 percent of patients studied, say researchers at the Society of Nuclear Medicine's 2012 ...

Recommended for you

Vitamin C may encourage blood cancer stem cells to die

August 17, 2017
Vitamin C may "tell" faulty stem cells in the bone marrow to mature and die normally, instead of multiplying to cause blood cancers. This is the finding of a study led by researchers from Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone ...

Scientists develop novel immunotherapy technology for prostate cancer

August 17, 2017
A study led by scientists at The Wistar Institute describes a novel immunotherapeutic strategy for the treatment of cancer based on the use of synthetic DNA to directly encode protective antibodies against a cancer specific ...

Outdoor light at night linked with increased breast cancer risk in women

August 17, 2017
Women who live in areas with higher levels of outdoor light at night may be at higher risk for breast cancer than those living in areas with lower levels, according to a large long-term study from Harvard T.H. Chan School ...

Toxic formaldehyde is produced inside our own cells, scientists discover

August 16, 2017
New research has revealed that some of the toxin formaldehyde in our bodies does not come from our environment - it is a by-product of an essential reaction inside our own cells. This could provide new targets for developing ...

Cell cycle-blocking drugs can shrink tumors by enlisting immune system in attack on cancer

August 16, 2017
In the brief time that drugs known as CDK4/6 inhibitors have been approved for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer, doctors have made a startling observation: in certain patients, the drugs—designed to halt cancer ...

Researchers find 'switch' that turns on immune cells' tumor-killing ability

August 16, 2017
Molecular biologists led by Leonid Pobezinsky and his wife and research collaborator Elena Pobezinskaya at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have published results that for the first time show how a microRNA molecule ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.