A Randomized Study to Assess the Effectiveness of Aloe vera gel on Acute Radiation Dermatitis
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Majority of patients who undergo external beam radiation therapy develop radiation-induced skin toxicity. Sometimes radiation induced skin toxicity may be very severe and may require temporary or permanent treatment cessation. We undertook a prospective randomized trial to assess the effectiveness of Aloe vera gel in preventing acute radiation dermatitis.
This prospective, randomized controlled trial included head and neck cancer patients scheduled to undergo radiation therapy (RT), with or without chemotherapy, at an academic cancer centre in Delhi. 57 patients were randomly assigned to either experimental group (N=27) or control group (N=30). Subjects in experimental group were advised to apply Aloe vera gel 2 times a day to the site of radiotherapy within 2–3 days of start of radiotherapy and control group received standard care. Radiation dermatitis grading and pain score in treatment field site were recorded prospectively at baseline, then fortnightly till completion of RT and one month after completion of RT.
Two groups were homogenous with regard to all demographic and clinical variables. There was significantly delayed onset of dermatitis in Aloe vera group (4.81 vs.3.53 weeks; p=0.002) during RT course. Compared to Aloe vera group, standard care patients showed higher incidence of Grade III-IV dermatitis at end of RT course (3.7% vs.30%;p=0.01).
Aloe vera gel was effective in delaying onset and reducing severity of radiation dermatitis during the course of radiotherapy. Low cost and good patient compliance for this topical application can make it a safe practice.
Aloe vera gel, Radiation dermatitis, prevention, management.