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Risk assessment, surveillance, and nonpharmaceutical prevention of acute radiation dermatitis: results of a multicentric survey among the German-speaking radiation oncology community.

Strahlentherapie und Onkologie : Organ der Deutschen Rontgengesellschaft ... [et al]

Authors: Katharina Layer, Julian P Layer, Andrea R Glasmacher, Gustavo R Sarria, Alexander M C Böhner, Yonah L Layer, Cas S Dejonckheere, Stephan Garbe, Petra Feyer, Brigitta G Baumert, Anke Schendera, René Baumann, David Krug, Mümtaz A Köksal, David Koch, Davide Scafa, Christina Leitzen, Michael Hölzel, Frank A Giordano, Leonard Christopher Schmeel

PURPOSE: Radiation dermatitis (RD) represents one of the most frequent side effects in radiotherapy (RT). Despite technical progress, mild and moderate RD still affects major subsets of patients and identification and management of patients with a high risk of severe RD is essential. We sought to characterize surveillance and nonpharmaceutical preventive management of RD in German-speaking hospitals and private centers.

METHODS: We conducted a survey on RD among German-speaking radiation oncologists inquiring for their evaluation of risk factors, assessment methods, and nonpharmaceutical preventive management of RD.

RESULTS: A total of 244 health professionals from public and private institutions in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland participated in the survey. RT-dependent factors were deemed most relevant for RD onset followed by lifestyle factors, emphasizing the impact of treatment conceptualization and patient education. While a broad majority of 92.8% assess RD at least once during RT, 59.0% of participants report RD at least partially arbitrarily and 17.4% stated to classify RD severity solely arbitrarily. 83.7% of all participants were unaware of patient-reported outcomes (PROs). Consensus exists on some lifestyle recommendations like avoidance of sun exposure (98.7%), hot baths (95.1%), and mechanical irritation (91.8%) under RT, while deodorant use (63.4% not at all, 22.1% with restrictions) or application of skin lotion (15.1% disapproval) remain controversial and are not recommended by guidelines or evidence-based practices.

CONCLUSION: Identification of patients at an increased risk of RD and subsequent implementation of adequate preventive measures remain relevant and challenging aspects of clinical routines. Consensus exists on several risk factors and nonpharmaceutical prevention recommendations, while RT-dependent risk factors, e.g., the fractionation scheme, or hygienic measures like deodorant use remain controversial. Surveillance is widely lacking methodology and objectivity. Intensifying outreach in the radiation oncology community is needed to improve practice patterns.

© 2023. The Author(s).

PMID: 37099166

Participating cluster members