Objective: To evaluate the effects of laser monotherapy on quality of life in breast cancer patients with chronic radiation dermatitis.
Study design: A prospective, IRB-approved study was conducted at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Breast cancer patients with chronic radiation dermatitis completed health-related quality of life (HR-QOL) questionnaires before and after laser monotherapy for radiation-induced breast telangiectasias (RIBT).
Methods: After informed consent, all patients were issued the Skindex-16 and Breast-Q Adverse Effects of Radiation HR-QOL questionnaires prior to receiving laser treatment. Patients were treated with a 595 nm pulsed dye laser at 4- to 6-week intervals, with percent telangiectasia clearance and adverse events recorded at each visit. Post-treatment HR-QOL questionnaires were collected after clinician-assessed telangiectasia clearance of >50%. Median HR-QOL scores before and after therapy were reported for individual HR-QOL domains (Skindex-16) and HR-QOL totals (Skindex-16 and Breast-Q Adverse Effects of Radiation). Before- and after-differences were calculated using the Wilcoxon Signed-Rank Test.
Results: Twenty-two female patients (average age 56 years) enrolled in this study. A majority (13/22, 59%) exhibited telangiectasias across the décolletage and axilla in addition to the breast. Sixteen patients reached the 50% RIBT clearance threshold during the study period, and 11 of these patients (69%) completed follow-up HR-QOL questionnaires. Patients showed statistically significant improvements in emotional and functional Skindex-16 HR-QOL domains and in overall Skindex-16 HR-QOL score. Breast-Q scores also improved significantly, illustrating a decrease in specific physical and cosmetic concerns common to radiated breast skin. Common adverse events were transient post-treatment pain and redness.
Conclusion: Breast cancer patients with RIBT presented with substantial deficits in several HR-QOL arenas. Laser monotherapy effectively treated the appearance of radiation dermatitis in these patients and also significantly improved HR-QOL. Lasers Surg. Med. 50:284-290, 2018. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Keywords: breast cancer; health related quality of life; pulsed dye laser; radiation dermatitis; telangiectasias.
© 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.