Radiation Dermatitis: A prevention protocol for patients with breast cancer

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Patients with breast cancer undergoing radiation therapy can experience dermatologic adverse events. Oncology nurses can advocate for radiation dermatitis (RD) prophylaxis to minimize dermatologic adverse events.

OBJECTIVES:

This quality improvement project was conducted to evaluate the effect of implementing an RD prevention protocol. The objectives of this study were to (a) improve clinicians' knowledge of screening, assessment, and prevention of RD in patients with breast cancer and (b) decrease the incidence of RD by 10% at a tertiary care cancer center.

METHODS:

Center-wide standards of care were created and implemented. A retrospective chart analysis was performed before and after protocol implementation. An education session was used to analyze protocol effectiveness.

FINDINGS:

Surveys completed by nurses (N = 11) before and after the education session demonstrated a significant increase in overall confidence in assessing RD. Statistically significant increases were noted in using topical steroids for prophylaxis.

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