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Therapeutic radiation therapy is intended to damage and destroy
cancer cells. Although the radiation beams are directed internally
to the lesion undergoing radiation, the overlying skin is also subject
to this radiation and may experience reactions during or shortly
after treatment. The skin may become red, tender, dry or itchy.
Less commonly, severe reactions with open blisters, called “moist
desquamation,” may occur (these should be immediately reported
to a physician). The culprit and source of these side effects are
thought to be toxic molecules generated by the radiation therapy
called “free radicals.”
It is hypothesized that during radiation therapy, energy is absorbed
by water contained within the cells resulting in breakage of the
oxygen-hydrogen covalent bonds of the water molecule, leaving hydrogen
and hydroxyl radicals. Hydroxyl radicals are very reactive with
other biomolecules and are responsible for setting off other free
radical chain reactions.
In order to combat the free radicals, the skin, like other organs,
has a well-developed antioxidant system, including reparative and
chain breaking antioxidants. The most abundant tissue thiol, glutathione,
acts synergistically with the other endogenous antioxidants to scavenge
free radicals from biochemical reactions and from effects of radiation.
The Thione Antioxidant Complex™ is a combination of synergistic
antioxidants, centered around glutathione, that replicates the cellular
antioxidant defense system of the skin. Thione International, Inc.
has developed a lotion containing the innovative Thione Complex™
that was specifically designed to prevent or lessen the free radical
damage to the skin from radiation received during radiation oncology
treatments for cancer. Radiation Lotion™ prevents and repairs
erythema or reddening of the skin, swelling, ulceration, and the
skin blistering of patients undergoing radiation therapy and may
be used during and after radiation treatments.
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