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Tips for patients

Radiotherapy is an effective method of treatment that uses ionizing radiation to destroy as many cancerous cells as possible.

Possible side effects include: malaise, drowsiness, depressed mood, loss of appetite and fatigue as well as stress caused by the disease and treatments. Among direct results of ionizing radiation are different dermal lesions, which, due to the time of disclosure in relation to the irradiation time, are divided into early and late radiation reactions. After 2-3 weeks of radiotherapy, erythema and dry epidermis exfoliation, and afterwards wet exfoliation and sometimes even effusion can occur. Each patient reacts differently to radiotherapy. One may not experience any side effects or they may occur.

Preventive measures and treatment of radiation-induced reaction should start during irradiation and continue throughout several months after its completion. Lack of irradiated skin care can lead to severity of radiation lesions and prolong the healing process and in extreme cases lead to ulceration, scarring and even necrosis.

Greater treatment toxicity may also occur in places where two surfaces of the skin are in contact (groin, armpits and chest) and where the skin is thin (groin, face, armpit). During treatment with ionizing radiation, patient subjected to radiotherapy should observe the following guidelines: treat irradiated areas gently, do not allow skin damage (do not scratch or rub), wear breathable, loose, cotton or silk underwear. During treatment, do not wash the irradiated area with scented or colour cosmetics, do not rinse, do not wipe, nor improve the places designated for irradiation. Do not use warming patches, bags of ice on irradiated skin, do not sunbathe during treatment and for a year after treatment.

To facilitate skin renewal and speed up repair processes, it is extremely important to carefully care for it, preferably using cosmetics designed specifically for skin subjected to radiotherapy. Such a preparation is RadioProtect cream, which moisturizes, oils, protects and sooths treatment toxicity moreover it has a soothing and calming effect. It contains: panthenol, olive oil, natural bioflavonoids, resveratrol, squalene, and glycerol.

In a clinical research, conducted in 2015 in the Branch of the Radiotherapy of the II Centre of Oncology in Bydgoszcz, involving 152 patients treated radically with ionizing rays and also using RadioPro- tect preparation, in 54,3% of patients no early skin post-radiation reaction occurred; in 39,5% of patients 1 degree reaction was found and for 7,2% of patients it was 2 degree reaction. It is also satisfying that no 3 or 4 degree reactions were diagnosed.

Tab. 1 Percentage of early skin post-radiation reaction
Degree of early skin post-radiation reaction N* %**
* number of patients, ** percentage

In 81 patients treated with ionizing rays, using RadioProtect cream, no early skin post-radiation reaction occurred. In 60, 1 degree reaction was found and for 11 patients it was 2 degree reaction. It is also satisfying that no 3 or 4 degree reactions were diagnosed.

Tab. 2 Degrees of the early skin post-radiation reaction with regard to body area
Treated body area Number of patients with early skin post-radiation reaction Number of patients with early skin post-radiation reaction 1-4 degree N*/%**
head and neck 11 23 6 0 0 29/72 %
chest 40 19 2 0 0 21/30,4 %
abdominal cavity 29 18 3 0 0 21/42 %
limb 1 0 0 0 0 0/0
* number of patients, ** percentage

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