Radiation therapy is used in the treatment of various forms of cancer and is associated with acute and chronic skin changes. Early skin reactions usually occur within days to weeks, initially manifesting as transient to generalized erythema. If the cumulative radiation dose reaches 20 gray, dry desquamation can develop characterized by pruritus, scaling, and flaking of the skin.25 Colloidal oatmeal has been studied as a treatment for radiation-induced skin reactions. In a study of 24 patients undergoing radical radiotherapy for anal cancer, patients were randomized to treatment with either colloidal oatmeal or aqueous cream. Skin reactions for both cohorts were comparable, but the colloidal oatmeal cohort had an appreciable response with regards to epidermal regeneration at follow up.26 As treatments for cancer continue to evolve, so must treatments for their cutaneous adverse effects. Colloidal oatmeal has shown promise with an excellent safety profile.
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11. Safa G, et al. Successful treatment of molluscum contagiosum with a zinc oxide cream containing colloidal oatmeal extracts. Indian J Dermatol. 2010;55(3):295-296.
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21. Saltz LB, Meropol NJ, Loehrer PJ et al. Phase II trial of cetuximab in patients with refractory colorectal cancer that expressed the epidermal growth factor response. J Clin Oncol. 2004;22:1201-1208.