One of the biggest reasons why cancer patients fear treatment is the side effects that come along with it. Of all side effects that are associated with cancer treatment, cutaneous or skin-related reactions are the most common ones.
Along with cancer cells, treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy affect the healthy cells as well. This leads to few reactions which frequently show up on the skin, hair or nails. If left unaddressed, they may affect the quality of life among cancer patients as well as hinder the progress of their treatment.
Oncodermatology is one of HCG’s special supportive divisions, and it extensively focuses on managing the adverse effects on skin, hair and nails caused due to cancer treatments.
Our specialists at HCG are skilled and experienced in the field of oncodermatology. The department runs in parallel with other disciplines in order to ensure that the skin-related issues faced by cancer patients are diagnosed and managed efficiently for faster recovery and better treatment outcomes.
Treatment of Cancer-related Skin Problems
Most common skin problems experienced by cancer patients include dry and rough skin, itching and rashes, mouth sores, hair loss, pigmentation and sensitivity to light.
Burning and peeling of the skin, swelling and blisters in hands and feet, painful fingertips and fragile nails can also occur.
- For mild to moderate conditions: Appropriate home care measures, topical or oral antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medications, phototherapy and skin protective agents are advised.
- For severe conditions: Extensive skin involvement requiring hospitalisation, although uncommon, are managed by IV medications, close supervision and specialised wound care.
Following are some of the reasons why patients can consider visiting an oncodermatologist during their cancer treatment:
1. Better Compliance to Cancer Treatment
For many patients, adverse effects while on treatment make it harder for them to receive further treatment. Our specialists carefully manage these cases, address the concerns of patients and help them adhere to the treatment plan given by their treating doctors.
2. Treatment that Comes From a Multidisciplinary Team
The oncodermatology team at HCG works in tandem with the patients’ treating doctor’s team in order to ensure that the skin conditions are treated holistically and the patients complete their cancer treatments successfully.
3. Improved Quality of Life
Skin involvement during and after cancer therapy, be they mild or severe, can suppress the quality of life of patients. Our speciality clinic helps patients overcome treatment side-effects and have a better quality of life during and after the treatment.
Oncodermatology Services at HCG
The skin conditions experienced during and after the cancer treatment are different from patient to patient. Our oncodermatologists at HCG help you in the management of the following conditions:
- Chemotherapy-associated allergies and toxicities in the skin, hair and nails
- Radiotherapy-associated reactions
- Skin infections arising due to cancer-induced and therapy-induced immunosuppression
- Paraneoplastic skin changes occurring secondary to cancer of other organs
- Bone marrow transplantation-associated graft-versus-host-disease in the skin
In addition to these supportive services, HCG’s Oncodermatology Clinic offers screening services for cancerous and precancerous conditions of the skin.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Which are the cancer treatments that cause skin reactions?
Cancer treatments, namely chemotherapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy, radiation therapy and stem cell transplantation may cause skin reactions in patients.
2. What to expect when I start experiencing skin reactions?
Before your treatment begins, learn about the possible side effects. You may consult a dermatologist if you have any pre-existing skin condition for appropriate advice on skincare during cancer therapy.
While you are on treatment, inform your doctor about your symptoms at the first sign of skin reaction to receive an on-time intervention.
3. What does an oncodermatologist do?
An oncodermatologist will carefully assess your condition, do necessary tests, go through your treatment plan for cancer and accordingly plan intervention to manage your skin-related problems. The mode of treatment could be topical, oral or IV, depending upon the severity of the symptoms.
4. Will the treatment given for skin reactions affect my ongoing cancer treatment?
In most cases, dermatological treatments given do not interfere with your ongoing cancer treatment. In rare cases, if your skin reactions are too severe, you may require a temporary interruption in your treatment, a detailed evaluation by a skin expert and hospitalisation for faster recovery.
Please talk to your doctor before the treatment to get a better understanding of the possible side effects and the best ways to manage them.