, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 545-554,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 25 Mar 2010

Skin care management in cancer patients: an evaluation of quality of life and tolerability

Abstract

Purpose

The objective of this study is to evaluate quality of life (QoL) and tolerability of three articles specifically developed for cancer skin care management (skin moisturizer, face moisturizer, and face wash).

Methods

Participants were cancer patients (n = 99) receiving systemic anticancer therapies and/or radiotherapy at Northwestern University. Subjects were assessed at the initial visit for adverse skin reactions based on the National Cancer Institute’s Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events version 3.0 and completed the Skindex-16 questionnaire, a self-reported dermatology-specific QoL instrument. All subjects were provided with three test articles and were instructed to use each test article once daily for 4 weeks. At the 4-week follow-up (n = 77), the Skindex-16 was readministered, adverse skin reactions were assessed, and tolerability questionnaires were administered for each article used.

Results

Dry skin, hand–foot skin reaction (HFSR), and skin rash (dermatitis) decreased significantly from baseline to follow-up. Presence of nail changes, skin rash (desquamation), and acne/acneiform eruptions did not significantly change from baseline. Subjects had a significantly lower mean overall Skindex-16 score at 4-week follow-up when compared to baseline. Most patients rated their overall experience with each test article as good or very good (highest rating).

Conclusion

Skin care in cancer patients is suboptimal in part due to a lack of products and knowledge specific for this population. Our findings suggest that QoL improves with test article use, all of which were rated as good/very good for tolerability. Moreover, skin toxicity as manifested by dry skin, hand-foot skin reaction, and skin rash (dermatitis) were decreased with use of test articles within 4 weeks.