For treatment, he says, lasers are preferred. Both animal and clinical studies suggest low level light therapy (LLLT), also known as photobiomodulation or “soft laser” (red light or infrared with <150 mW power), can reduce inflammation and prevent fibrosis.
Bensadoun’s group recommends initiating this treatment after a few radiation sessions and before significant redness appears, if possible. However, don’t forego treatment if redness already exists.
With similar symptoms, chronic dermatitis appears after six months post-radiation treatment and up to 30 years later. The average is after 10-to-15 years. Subsequent chemotherapy or antibiotic treatment, repetitive trauma, sun exposure, or further irradiation are common prompts.
Research reveals pulsed dye laser treatment can clear telangiectasia, red streaks caused by dilated blood vessels. Using short 0.45-millisecond pulses with a 585-nm pulsed dye laser can whiten lesions. Data indicates three sessions can produce 90-percent lesion-size reduction with blood spots disappearing within 10-to-15 days. By comparison, intense pulsed light results in a 50% lesion reduction.
Ultimately, Bensadoun says, it’s critical for radiation oncologists and dermatologists to understand the frequency of radiodermatitis and how to ameliorate it.
1. Seité S, Bensadoun RJ, Mazer JM. Prevention and treatment of acute and chronic radiodermatitis. Breast Cancer (Dove Med Press). 2017;9:551-557.