Health and Beauty

Vulvar Skin Care Guidelines

Radiation Dermatitis: Recognition, Prevention, and Management


Radiation therapy (RT) remains an essential component of cancer treatment, with nearly 50% of cancer patients receiving RT at some point during the course of their illness. Of those receiving RT, as many as 95% may experience some form of radiation dermatitis, or radiation-induced skin injury.[1] Radiation dermatitis can manifest as acute erythema and desquamation, or as chronic effects including skin atrophy, telangiectasias, and fibrosis. These skin changes result from a combination of RT features and intrinsic patient risk factors. While a reduced total dose of radiation and use of an advanced mode of radiation delivery may help to mitigate the severity of radiation effects on the skin, radiation dermatitis remains one of the most common side effects of RT. This condition can affect a patient’s quality of life both during and after treatment. If severe, it carries the risk of limiting the dose of radiation or interrupting the treatment schedule, which could negatively impact treatment efficacy. Consequently, managing radiation-induced skin injury during and after treatment is an important aspect of cancer care. Despite technological advances in radiation delivery and growing interest in managing skin reactions, there is no gold standard in the management of radiation dermatitis. This article highlights the typical skin reactions associated with RT, as well as current evidence-based approaches to management and intervention.