Turmeric Bioactive compound Curcumin, the Potential Treatment for Reducing Radiation Dermatitis Severity in Cancer Patients

By Kyle J. Norton

Radiation dermatitis is skin damage caused by exposure to radiation. The condition is often found in patients with radiotherapy for the treatment of cancer.

According to statistics, approximately 85% of patients with radiotherapy are affected by the symptoms of moderate-to-severe skin reactions, particularly in the first 2 weeks of the treatment.

Depending on the period of exposure and levels of skin damage, some patients with radiation of dermatitis may experience symptoms of mild skin redness, itchiness, peeling, moistness,… and blistering
In severe cases, patients may also induce painful broken skin, that prone to infection. 
If you are treated with radiotherapy, you make sure that you know all the side effect for preventive measure.
Believe it or not, patients with certain medical conditions, inclduing skin disease, obesity
 malnutrition, infectious diseases, and diabetes are more prone to radiation dermatitis, compared to those who do not.
Most cases of radiation dermatitis are treated successfully by topical steroid cream often prescribed by radiologist. However, if the topical cream failed, antibiotics, silver leaf nylon dressing may be prescribed to reduce symptoms and prevent infection.
Dr. Benoîte Méry, the lead scientist in the examined the risk of skin damage in breast cancer patients who were treated by radiation wrote, “54 patients were enrolled in 2013. Eight patients (14.8%) had grade ≥2 toxicity. The average weight and chest sizes were 65.5 kg and 93.6 cm, respectively. Bra cup size is significantly associated with a risk of grade 2 dermatitis [odds ratio (OR) 3.46, 95% confidence interval (CI) (1.29–11.92), p = 0.02]. Anthropometric breast fat mass measurements, such as thickness of left [OR 2.72, 95% CI (1.08–8.26), p = 0.04] and right [OR 2.45, 95% CI (0.99–7.27), p = 0.05] axillary fat, is correlated with an increased risk”.

And, “Breast size and its different anthropometric measurements (thickness of left and right axillary fat, nipple-to-pectoral muscle distance) are correlated with the risk of skin toxicity”.

The results suggested that other parameters, such as the area treated with radiation must also be taken into account of radiation dermatitis.
Turmeric is a perennial plant in the genus Curcuma, belonging to the family Zingiberaceae, native to tropical South Asia.

The herb has been used in traditional medicine as anti-oxidant, hypoglycemic, colorant, antiseptic, wound healing agent, and for the treatment of flatulence, bloating, and appetite loss, ulcers, eczema, inflammations, etc.

With an aim to find a skincare product with no side effects, researchers reviewed the chemistry of turmeric on radiation dermatitis occurred in 95% of patients with radiation therapy (RT) for cancer.

The multisite, randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial included 686 breast cancer patients received four 500-mg capsules of placebo or curcumin three times daily throughout their prescribed course of RT until 1-week post-RT.

According to the severity (RDS) at the end of RT, using the RDS scale, compared to placebo, oral curcumin did not reduce radiation dermatitis severity at the end of RT.

However, curcumin group showed an improvement in fewer patients with RDS > 3.0.

In other words, oral curcumin exerted a prominent effect in inducing a trend toward reduced severity compared to the non-curcumin treated group.

According to the reports from participants, curcumin also showed a change in pain, symptoms, and quality of life, although they were not statistically significant between arms.

Taken altogether, turmeric processed a high amount of bioactive compound curcumin may be considered supplements for reducing radiation dermatitis severity, pending to the confirmation of the larger sample size and multicenter human study.

Intake of turmeric in the form of supplement should be taken with extreme care to prevent overdose acute liver toxicity.
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Author Biography
Kyle J. Norton (Scholar, Master of Nutrition, All right reserved)

Health article writer and researcher; Over 10.000 articles and research papers have been written and published online, including worldwide health, ezine articles, article base, health blogs, self-growth, best before it’s news, the karate GB daily, etc.,.
Named TOP 50 MEDICAL ESSAYS FOR ARTISTS & AUTHORS TO READ by Disilgold.com Named 50 of the best health Tweeters Canada – Huffington Post
Nominated for shorty award over last 4 years
Some articles have been used as references in medical research, such as international journal Pharma and Bioscience, ISSN 0975-6299.

(1) Turmeric: A condiment, cosmetic and cure by Gopinath H1, Karthikeyan K. (PubMed)
(2) Oral curcumin for radiation dermatitis: a URCC NCORP study of 686 breast cancer patients by Ryan Wolf J1,2,3, Heckler CE4,5, Guido JJ4,5, Peoples AR4, Gewandter JS6, Ling M7, Vinciguerra VP8, Anderson T9, Evans L10, Wade J11, Pentland AP12, Morrow GR. (PubMed)
(3) Correlation between anthropometric parameters and acute skin toxicity in breast cancer radiotherapy patients: a pilot assessment study by Benoîte Méry, MD,1 Alexis Vallard, MD,2 Jane-Chloé Trone, MD,2 Cécile Pacaut, MD,1Jean-Baptiste Guy, MD,2 Sophie Espenel, MD,2 Julien Langrand-Escure, MD,2 Edouard Ollier, MD,3 Guoping Wang, MD,1 Peng Diao, MD,2 Lise Bigot,2 Sylvie Mengue Ndong, MD,2Claire Bosacki, MD,1 Majed Ben Mrad, MD,2 and Nicolas Magné, MD, PhD. (PMC)