Radiation-induced skin reactions occur in 80-90 percent of breast cancer patients1 and can range from mild redness to ulceration, with symptoms of pain, burning and itchiness. This can have a very negative impact on day-to-day life for patients, who already have to cope with being diagnosed with and treated for cancer.
However, a study2 conducted in New Zealand has shown that the use of Mepitel® Film, a thin, transparent dressing using Mölnlycke Health Care's Safetac® technology, 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.
These conclusive findings were picked up by TVNZ ONE News and broadcast as a feature news item in their nightly news bulletin. The story mainly focused on the study's core fundamental: that when Mepitel Film is used from the very first day of treatment, skin reaction's severity is reduced by 92 percent. The full news item can be seen here.
- Wells M (2003) Radiation skin reactions. Faithfull S (Ed) Supportive care in radiotherapy. London: Churchill Livingstone 135-159.
- 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 opens in a new window).