New research project for women undergoing radiation therapy

One of the major concerns for women undergoing radiation therapy to the breast area is the extent of the skin reaction or "burning" they might experience.  This is a very individual reaction to the treatment and the amount of skin changes vary greatly from patient to patient, dependant on skin type, age and lifestyle amongst other things.  The team at ARO is about to embark on a research project in conjunction with three other centres around New Zealand to investigate the use of silicon based dressing that shows promise in reducing skin reactions in patients receiving radiation therapy to the breast and chest wall.

The dressings were originally designed for the treatment of burns.  They adhere to healthy skin, do not stick to wounds nor react to chemicals in or on the skin.  A pilot study conducted in Dunedin in 2008 showed that these silicon dressings significantly reduced the amount of radiation induced skin changes compared with the use of standard skin treatments.  These results are reflected in other international studies and the ARO team are looking forward to being able to offer this improvement to their patients in due course.

It is expected this study will get underway in February 2011.

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