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9. Recommendations for future research

  • New high quality trials to investigate interventions for dry or moist desquamation are urgently required; enabling a more consistent approach for patients receiving radiotherapy and to inform guidelines. Funding bodies supporting radiotherapy research studies should prioritise these trials as the results would have a wide impact across all cancer patients referred for radiotherapy as part of their treatment pathway.
  • There is a need for further research of new products before they are introduced on an ad-hoc basis, without evidence, into radiotherapy skin care regimens.
  • Future research should include designs that allow assessor blinding and comparators should include ‘current best evidence practice' or 'no intervention'.
  • Assessment and quantification of the extent of radiation-induced skin reactions is needed as currently it is unknown how many patients are affected and to what level. Departments need to audit radiation-induced skin reactions locally to monitor proportions of patients that develop different RTOG graded reactions across different treatment sites:
    a) increase the quality of information that can be given to patients;
  • b) to allow departments to monitor their own practice and compare across centres.
  • Evaluation into wet versus dry shaving and perfume and make-up use is needed.
  • Evaluation of treatment aftercare requires review to ensure local continuity and consistency of care across the patient pathway.
  • Research into patient preferences and compliance would inform future national guidelines. Decision tools would help patients make informed choices about radiotherapy skin care information. 

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