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Radiation Therapy

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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