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

Shooting the achilles heel of nervous system cancers

July 20, 2017
Virtually all cancer treatments used today also damage normal cells, causing the toxic side effects associated with cancer treatment. A cooperative research team led by researchers at Dartmouth's Norris Cotton Cancer Center ...

Molecular changes with age in normal breast tissue are linked to cancer-related changes

July 20, 2017
Several known factors are associated with a higher risk of breast cancer including increasing age, being overweight after menopause, alcohol intake, and family history. However, the underlying biologic mechanisms through ...

Immune-cell numbers predict response to combination immunotherapy in melanoma

July 20, 2017
Whether a melanoma patient will better respond to a single immunotherapy drug or two in combination depends on the abundance of certain white blood cells within their tumors, according to a new study conducted by UC San Francisco ...

Discovery could lead to better results for patients undergoing radiation

July 19, 2017
More than half of cancer patients undergo radiotherapy, in which high doses of radiation are aimed at diseased tissue to kill cancer cells. But due to a phenomenon known as radiation-induced bystander effect (RIBE), in which ...

Definitive genomic study reveals alterations driving most medulloblastoma brain tumors

July 19, 2017
The most comprehensive analysis yet of medulloblastoma has identified genomic changes responsible for more than 75 percent of the brain tumors, including two new suspected cancer genes that were found exclusively in the least ...

Novel CRISPR-Cas9 screening enables discovery of new targets to aid cancer immunotherapy

July 19, 2017
A novel screening method developed by a team at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center—using CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology to test the function of thousands of tumor genes in mice—has ...

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.