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Br J Cancer. 2007 Jul 2;97(1):14-21. Epub 2007 Jun 12.

Post-treatment skin reactions reported by cancer patients differ by race, not by treatment or expectations.

Author information

  • 1Department of Dermatology, University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry, James P Wilmot Cancer Center, Rochester, NY 14642, USA. Julie_Ryan@urmc.rochester.edu

Abstract

Cancer patients may experience skin problems while undergoing chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Frequency of skin reactions may be influenced by skin pigmentation and psychological factors. A Symptom Inventory completed by 656 cancer patients nationwide before and after chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy plus radiation therapy was analysed to determine if treatment type, race (Black vs White), and pretreatment expectations influenced post-treatment skin reactions. Subsequent analysis of a local Symptom Inventory completed weekly for 5 weeks by 308 patients receiving radiation therapy examined severity of reported skin reactions. Significantly more patients receiving radiation therapy had stronger expectations of skin problems (62%) than patients receiving chemotherapy (40%, P=0.001) or chemotherapy plus radiation therapy (45%, P=0.003). Overall, expectations did not correlate with patient reported post-treatment skin problems in white (r=0.014, P=0.781) or black (r=0.021, P=0.936) patients. Although no significant difference was found between black and white patients in their pretreatment expectations of skin problems (P=0.32), black patients (10 out of 18, 56%) reported more skin problems than white patients (90 out of 393, 23%, P=0.001). Similarly, the local study showed that significantly more black patients (1 out of 5, 20%) reported severe skin reactions at the treatment site than white patients (12 out of 161, 8%). A direct correlation was observed between severity of skin problems and pain at the treatment site (r=0.541, P<0.001). Total radiation exposure did not significantly correlate with the report of skin problems at the treatment site for white or black patients. Overall, black patients reported more severe post-treatment skin problems than white patients. Our results suggest that symptom management for post-treatment skin reactions in cancer patients receiving radiation treatment could differ depending on their racial background.

PMID:
17565347
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2359663
Free PMC Article

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