Practice patterns for the prophylaxis and treatment of acute radiation dermatitis in the United States

Patricia Lucey, Christos Zouzias, Loren Franco, Sravana K. Chennupati, Shalom Kalnicki, Beth N. McLellan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Purpose: Due to the inconclusive evidence for available treatment options, management of radiation dermatitis (RD) varies among practitioners. This study defines and reviews the current treatment patterns for RD in the USA, providing guidance for practicing physicians as well as directions for future research. Methods: An online survey of 21 questions was emailed to all 5626 members of the 2013 American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) directory, which included radiation oncologists, residents, fellows, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, registered nurses and other care providers. The questions were designed to evaluate demographics of responders, their training and comfort in the management RD, and their patterns of care regarding prophylaxis and treatment of RD. Data was analyzed using simple summary and descriptive statistics. Results: Out of the 5626 emails sent, we were left with 709 physician respondents for our analysis, or a response rate of 12.9%. Although 84.7% of physicians felt that RD had a moderate or large impact on patients’ quality of life during cancer treatment, only 30.1% received special training or specific instructional courses in treating RD during their medical training in residency or fellowship. Eighty-nine percent of surveyed physicians rely on observational and/or anecdotal findings to guide treatment decisions, and 51.4% reported using evidence-based treatments. Conclusion: The results of our study show that there is great variability in the topical agents and dressings used in practice by radiation oncologists to prevent and treat RD. This information may be useful to other practitioners to develop their own personal recommendations and can guide further research into strategies to prevent and treat radiation dermatitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2857-2862
Number of pages6
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017


  • Prophylaxis
  • Radiation
  • Radiation dermatitis
  • Radiotherapy
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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