Antibacterial Treatment May Help Prevent Painful Skin Issues Caused by Cancer Radiation Therapy, Studies Find

Cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy often suffer from acute radiation dermatitis, which can cause painful skin issues ranging from mild to severe, including blistering, open sores, and itching. However, two new studies offer hope for preventing and treating this condition. Researchers found that a common bacterium, Staphylococcus aureus (staph), maybe the culprit behind acute radiation dermatitis. When radiation weakens the skin structure, staph can break through and cause infections. 

The researchers found chlorhexidine and mupirocin containing experimental antibacterial regimens to be effective in preventing severe symptoms in cancer patients undergoing radiation. Experts suggest that patients should ask their radiation oncologist about this regimen before treatment begins. The findings of the studies were published in JAMA Oncology.

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