BACKGROUND: Among the 1,918,030 patients in the United States estimated to be diagnosed with cancer in 2022, approximately 50% will require radiation therapy (RT) as part of their treatment plan. Radiation dermatitis (RD) is the most common side effect of RT, particularly in patients with breast, head, neck, and anal cancers, with a wide spectrum in the severity and degree of RD that develops in an individual and considerable heterogeneity in the management of RD. In addition, few contemporaneous treatment algorithms exist for the prevention and treatment of RD, underscoring the need to develop uniform, evidence-directed guidelines. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A modified Delphi process was used to develop a treatment algorithm (USCOM II) that expanded upon a previous algorithm (USCOM I) for the management of RD. A panel of multidisciplinary advisors was selected, and a systematic literature search with key terms was conducted to identify publications on RD. Subsequently, the literature was graded according to the strength of evidence for the recommendation. The advisors convened to review the results and assemble the algorithm. Further iterations on the algorithm were obtained until 100% group consensus was achieved. RESULTS: An algorithm that tailors the management of RD, based on the CTCAE v.5 grading of RD and the presence of moist desquamation, was developed. Unique features include photographs illustrating the clinical spectrum of RD to supplement the algorithm and the integration of medically based recommendations with over-the-counter (OTC) skincare regimens that include cleansing, moisturizing, and photoprotection. CONCLUSION: Acute RD, when suboptimally managed, can lead to symptoms of pruritus and pain, decreased quality of life and morbidity, and treatment interruptions. When RD is severe or prolonged, it can delay the receipt of a full therapeutic course of RT. Enhanced patient education on the prevention of RD and clarity of treatment recommendations through a multidisciplinary, physician-developed algorithm may help prevent and manage the various adverse effects and improve the overall care of patients receiving RT. J Drugs Dermatol. 2022;21:11(Suppl 1):s3-14.
|Journal of drugs in dermatology : JDD
|Published - Nov 1 2022
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Medicine