All-Inclusive Acumens on the Most Prevalent Condition of Radiodermatitis
In most cases, radiodermatitis is caused by radiotherapy for underlying malignant diseases such as cancer or tumor. Exposure to radiation during interventional procedures such as embolization procedures, coronary angiography, and indwelling catheter placements may also be the cause of the skin condition.
Radiation therapy is the most popular treatment of any type of cancer. During this therapy, X-rays are used to eliminate cancer cells and destroy malevolent tumors. Radiodermatitis or radiation dermatitis is one of the most common side effects. It is a severe skin condition, which is also referred to as radiation burns or X-ray dermatitis.
In most cases, radiodermatitis is caused by radiotherapy for underlying malignant diseases such as cancer or tumor. Exposure to radiation during interventional procedures such as embolization procedures, coronary angiography, and indwelling catheter placements also be the cause of the skin condition.
Main Causes of the Radiodermatitis
High-energy waves, such as X-rays or gamma rays, are used during radiation therapy to terminate or destroy the cancer cells. These rays make tiny cessations in the DNA inside the cells, which help in preventing the spread of the cancer cells. During the process of treatment, normal cells near to the cancer cells are exposed to the radiation, causing the skin conditions such as radiation dermatitis. These cells, however, recover as soon as the course of radiotherapy is completed.
The significant number of patients requiring radiation therapy has increased the cases of radiodermatitis. Because of this factor, according to a new report by Research Dive, the global radiodermatitis market is expected to generate a remarkable revenue in upcoming years.
Clinical Features of Radiodermatitis
Radiation-induced dermatitis is categorized into two main types, chronic and acute.
- Acute radiation dermatitis
Acute radiation dermatitis often surfaces within 90 days of exposure to radiation. Depending on the rigorousness of the reaction, the patient experiences changes in skin conditions ranging from ulceration, desquamation (peeling skin), faint erythema (reddening) to skin necrosis or the death of skin cells.
- Chronic radiation dermatitis
Patients may experience the occurrence of chronic radiation dermatitis from 15 days to 10 years, after the initiation of the radiation therapy. This condition is an extension of the acute radiodermatitis with additional inflammatory changes in the skin.
Risk Factors of Radiodermatitis
Radiation-caused dermatitis occurs in patients who have prior conditions such as poor nutrition and pre-existing skin disease. Other factors include:
- Applying skin creams to the exposed skin right before the treatment
- Overlapping skin folds
- Exposure to radiation for prolonged time or repetitive procedures
- Application of radiation doses of greater than 55 Gy, or large individual doses per fraction (greater than 3–4 Gy per dose)
- Concurrent cetuximab therapy, (if the patient is receiving radiation for head and neck menaces).
Some diseases and syndromes may enhance the risk of radiation dermatitis. These include:
- Genetic disorders affecting epidermal DNA, such as basal cell naevus syndrome
- Connective tissue diseases (Systemic lupus erythematosus, systemic sclerosis, or mixed connective tissue disease)
- Chromosomal breakage syndromes, such as Fanconi anemia and Bloom syndrome
- Ataxia telangiectasia
- Certain infectious diseases, particularly human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
- Diabetes mellitus
- Cellular damage due to a preceding radiosensitizing drug (e.g. paclitaxel or docetaxel)
5 Most-Beneficial Treatment Procedures
The right treatment process can reduce and even eliminate the radiodermatitis conditions. A combination of topical and oral treatment is considered to be the best method for this. Some of the effective treatments are mentioned below:
- Corticosteroid cream
Corticosteroid cream is a type of topical steroid cream. It is often recommended for the treatment of radiation dermatitis. However, this treatment option has not proved totally effective clinically yet.
Oral and topical antibiotics are another effective treatment options for the radiodermatitis. The effectiveness of these antibiotics in treating the skin disease have been proved clinically.
- Silver Leaf Nylon Dressing
Gauze is used to treat skin burns in general. For radiation burns, silver leaf nylon dressing is one of the best options to go with. Antimicrobial and anti-infective properties make this skin dressing more effective. The most significant element of this dressing is the silver ions; as they are released into the skin, they work quickly, relieve any kind of discomfort, and speed up the recovery.
Zinc increases the immune function of the body. It is used for various treatment purposes such as treatment of burns, acne, cuts and ulcers, and most importantly, X-ray dermatitis.
Amifostine is a medication for the treatment of removal of free radicals and reduction of noxiousness created from radiation. There have been many clinical trials which revealed that chemotherapy patients in the medication of amifostine, prevented the risk of radiodermatitis by 77 percent.
Key Takeaway Message!
As there is a rise in the occurrence of radiation dermatitis, there is still no successful preventive or management method of this condition. The currently available treatment options are aimed towards improvement of patient comfort, decreasing the risk of future injury, and enhancing the speed of recovery. Well-structured studies, research, and development are the need of the hour for the radiation dermatitis treatment.
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