Facing the global challenge of radiotherapy-induced skin damage

Prevention and treatment of radiotherapy-related skin reactions

Statistics 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.

However, a study1 conducted in New Zealand has shown that the use of Mepitel® Film, a thin, transparent dressing with Safetac®, 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, while 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.

Radiotherapy induced skin reactions

Radiation-induced skin reactions can be graded according to the Radiotherapy Oncology Group Assessment tool (RTOG); clinical guidelines recommended by the College of Radiographers;...

Mepilex Lite - Clinically proven to work

About 900,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer yearly, according to the World Health Organization, (WHO). Erythema occurs in 80-90% of women treated for breast cancer with radiation therapy....

Dr. Patries Herst - Dressing for radiation-induced skin reactions

Hear Dr. Patries Herst talk about the new and exciting study: Mepilex Lite Dressings for Radiation-Induced Skin Reactions....

Intra-patient controlled trial

This article reports on the results of a randomised controlled trial that was undertaken to assess the effect of Mepilex Lite dressings on the full range of radiotherapy-induced skin reactions of...

Recommended products

Mepitel Film

Mepitel Film

Designed for a wide range of superficial wounds. It can be used alone or in connection with other products.

Mepilex Lite

Mepilex Lite

A thin foam dressing for low-exuding acute and chronic wounds. With Safetac, Mepilex Lite minimizes pain and wound or skin damage at dressing change.

Clinically proven to work

About 900,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer yearly, according to the World Health Organization, (WHO). Erythema occurs in 80-90 percent of women treated for breast cancer with radiation therapy. Currently, there is no standard treatment for radiation-induced skin reactions. This study is the first to prove a clinically effective treatment that would make life a lot easier for women with breast cancer undergoing radiation therapy.

Twenty-four patients were presented with 34 erythematous areas of skin. Areas of skin from the same woman were in different areas of the breast, each receiving a different radiation dose. Each affected area was divided into two halves, one treated with Mepilex Lite dressings and the other with the standard aqueous cream. The results showed a significant reduction of the radiation-induced erythema compared to the aqueous cream. Mepilex showed an average increase in RISRASi score to 1.7 when the aqueous cream saw an increase of 2.4.

The investigator stated that not only did Mepilex Lite show a clear reduction of radiation-induced erythema, but that the majority of the women also preferred the dressings over the cream and thought they increased the comfort levels. It was also reported that the amount of pain experienced decreased and the treatment allowed the women to wear normal clothing.

For more information: www.bjr.birjournals.org


  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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