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Radiation Dermatitis


Updated May 12, 2010

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Definition: Radiation dermatitis is a side effect of external beam radiation. Dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin. Radiation dermatitis may occur on the skin of a radiated breast, and appear as red, itchy, peeling, and in extreme cases, blistered skin. In mild cases, radiation dermatitis may be similar to light case of sunburn.
Also Known As: Radiodermatitis, X-ray dermatitis, radiation skin damage, radiation burns
Alternate Spellings: Radiodermatitis
During radiation treatments, skin and internal tissues are exposed to ionizing radiation from x-rays. Radiation dermatitis may not show up right away, but about three weeks into treatments, symptoms may appear. Ask your radiation oncologist about ointments that can help prevent and treat radiation dermatitis.

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