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Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2005 Nov;11(4):224-31.

Novel approaches to radiotherapy-induced skin reactions: a literature review.

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Universal College of Learning (UCOL), Faculty of Health Sciences, Private Bag 11022, Palmerston North, New Zealand.


Patients undergoing radiotherapy treatment will receive some degree of skin damage. Internationally there are many preventative and treatment options recommended, with varying degrees of evidence of success. This review explores the possible benefits of various plant-based treatments within the context of other novel treatments. The evidence suggests that using a hydrophilic substance such as Aloe vera gel or vegetable oil that is high in essential fatty acids, is as effective as mild steroid creams such as 1% hydrocortisone in reducing the severity of reactions. Additionally with plant-based treatments there does not appear to be side effects such as may occur with steroids. There remains great scope for further studies either replicating some of these current studies or exploring other options such as the use of essential oils or other herbal extracts.

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