Publication Date

3-1-2002

Degree Program

School of Nursing

Degree Type

Master of Science

Abstract

Radiation dermatitis is a common side effect of external beam radiation therapy. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of applying an aloe vera based skin gel to the target area skin in preventing the development of radiation dermatitis to postlumpectomy/ mastectomy patients receiving external beam radiation therapy in an ambulatory radiation-oncology clinic in the southeastern region of the United States. In this descriptive correlational study, a convenience sample of willing participants (n=18) was followed from initial treatment through the one-month follow-up examination to assess the intensity of their skin reaction. Five research questions were examined pertaining to the relationship between prognostic indicators and the development of radiation dermatitis when RadiacareR gel was used before and throughout external beam radiation therapy post-mastectomy or post-lumpectomy. The prognostic indicators used in this study were: Breast size > C-cup, prior chemotherapeutic exposure, length of incision, age of client, and weight changes since diagnosis. Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and Pearson's Correlation Coefficients were used in the data analysis with a confidence of p=0.05. This study indicated that breast size and weight changes were the most prognostic of the factors studied. The small sample size and lack of randomization or control group limit the generalizability of these findings to clinical practice; however, it does support the need for continued research in this area. Recommendations for future studies include comparing Body Mass Index (BMI) to incidence and determining a relationship between gel use and treatment breaks and if there is a difference in the length of time until the skin is restored to baseline upon completion of therapy.

Disciplines

Dermatology | Nursing | Oncology | Radiology