WHAT IS A POST-RADIATION WOUND?
Radiation treatment is used to target and diminish cancer cells in the body, which usually also causes some damage to surrounding healthy cells. This means that patients undergoing radiation therapy must take special care of their skin after treatment and often need treatment from a wound care specialist in order to properly heal from post-radiation wounds.
WHAT CAUSES POST-RADIATION WOUNDS?
Post-radiation burns, also called radiation dermatitis, is most commonly caused by radiotherapy used for underlying cancerous cells. Patients may undergo radiation therapy in order to destroy the cancer, while inadvertently damaging skin cells in the area. Likewise, radiation may cause skin damage and wounds when used for interventional procedures, such as catheter insertion, embolism, or coronary angiography. In these cases, the radiation therapy wounds may need to be treated by specialist, such as Princeton Wound Care.
WHAT KINDS OF RADIATION WOUNDS ARE THERE?
There are multiple types of radiation skin problems, which may vary in severity and require wound care after radiation therapy from a wound care specialist. Generally, radiation dermatitis can be defined in two categories:
ACUTE RADIATION DERMATITIS
Acute radiation dermatitis occurs immediately after exposure to radiotherapy (within 90 days) and may result in the following skin issues:
- Necrosis (skin cells dying)
- Moderate to severe swelling
CHRONIC RADIATION DERMATITIS
Chronic radiation dermatitis occurs 15 days to 10 years after radiation exposure, and may result in the following skin issues:
- Skin cancer
- Pore disappearance
- Collagen increase
- Skin elasticity damage
- Blood vessel prominence
- Skin surface weakening
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF POST-RADIATION WOUNDS?
The following common symptoms of post-radiation burns may warrant a visit to Princeton Wound Care for after-radiation therapy:
WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS FOR POST-RADIATION WOUNDS?
Radiation burns from cancer treatment may happen to anyone undergoing radiotherapy, however some patients may be predisposed to the condition. Some of the pre-existing health problems that can increase a patient’s risk of suffering from radiation wounds include:
- Connective tissue diseases
- Certain infectious diseases, including HIV
- Cellular damage
- Certain genetic disorders
- Chromosomal damage
HOW IS A POST-RADIATION WOUND TREATED?
Radiation therapy wounds should be carefully assessed by a wound care specialist, and treated at a wound care facility. Princeton Wound Care specializes in treating post-radiation wounds and offers Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) using the latest state-of-the-art HBOT chambers.
Learn more about the benefits of HBOT at Princeton Wound Care by visiting our hyperbaric oxygen chambers page.