Mepitel Film prevents radiotherapy skin reactions

By: Mölnlycke Health Care, April 28 2014Posted in: Radiotherapy

Elderly woman taking a picture of roses in her garden using a mobile phone cameraStatistics indicate that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and up to 90 percent of those being treated with radiotherapy will develop skin reactions as a side effect. Reactions can be very painful, affecting these patients’ quality of life.

Skin reactions related to radiotherapy usually appear within one to four weeks from the start of treatment, persist for the duration of the therapy and may require two to four weeks to heal after completion of therapy. The severity of the skin reaction ranges from mild erythema to ulceration and severe moist desquamation – this is when the outer skin layers lose integrity and begin to weep. In any case, these skin reactions can be very painful and the quality of life of the patient post-radiotherapy treatment will be affected.

Until now, creams, gels and dressings have been used to reduce these severe side effects, but none have been able to completely prevent them.  

However, a study1 conducted in New Zealand has shown that the use of Mepitel® Film, a thin, transparent dressing using Mölnlycke Health Care’s unique Safetac® interface, before, during and after radiation therapy, prevents the development of moist desquamation and reduces the severity of other skin reactions.

Seventy-eight patients undergoing radiation therapy for breast cancer took part in the trial. Each patient’s irradiated skin area was divided into two halves, with Mepitel Film used on one side and aqueous cream on the other. The study found that there were no cases of ulceration or severe skin reactions on the skin under Mepitel Film, whilst cream-treated skin developed these wounds in 26 percent of patients. In addition, the skin reactions that did develop under Mepitel Film were 92 percent less severe than in the cream-treated control group.

Mepitel Film is an ultra-thin, soft and highly conformable transparent film dressing that protects vulnerable skin from friction. It will not interfere with radiotherapy and can be worn from the start of treatment and throughout.


  1. Herst PM et al. Prophylactic use of Mepitel Film prevents radiation-induced moist desquamation in an intra-patient randomised controlled clinical trial of 78 breast cancer patients. Radiother Oncol (2014) (link will open in a new window).
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